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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Only The Strong - Deluxe Edition' [CD+DVD]
Artist - THOR

For those not in the know, Thor actually started out as a concept band in 1973. They were first called Centaur and then Mikl Body Rock, both of which were the brainchild of Jon Mikl, a vocalist, musician and body building champion who won titles such as Mr. USA and Mr. Canada.

He decided to combine Muscle with Music. Mikl Body Rock toured throughout North America seeking fame and to garnish enough attention to secure a record deal. The press dubbed them "Kings of Muscle Rock" or " Warriors of Gladiator Rock."

Only The Strong was originally released way back in 1985 and was the second full-length album from the Canadian muscle-man turned cult heavy metal icon Thor (Keith Zazzi, bass, vocals; Pantera, vocals; Thor, vocals; Steve Price, guitar; and Mike Favata, drums)

Remember, this was around the time when along with singing, he was on-stage bringing his fans actual real feats of strength! Like bending iron bars and so much more, akin to the band's Manowar-style metal.

Stage antics aside, Only The Strong yielded the singles, 'Let the Blood Run Red,' 'Knock 'Em Down,' and 'Thunder on the Tundra' which went a long way to strengthening (no pun intended) the album's performance. Especially as it subsequently reached platinum status in both Canada and the United Kingdom.

This just re-released special Deluxe Edition of the classic 1985 heavy metal masterpiece is a doozy as it is a CD/DVD combined set. Indeed, some might say it is the complete Thor experience as it includes the whole of the band's aforementioned album PLUS rare and unreleased bonus tracks. And, lest we forget the mind-blowing 60 minute concert DVD capturing the band in live performances during their early 80's heyday!

All this and packaged in a gorgeous 8 panel digipak with a full color 16-page booklet, Only The Strong kicks off with talk of Demigods on '2045,' before heading into the title track, the vocally immense 'Only The Strong,' 'Start Raising Hell,' and then both 'Knock 'Em Down' and the tuneful (yup, I said that!) 'Let The Blood Run Red.'

The powerhaus vocals of 'When Gods Collide' is then backed by the pulsating 'Rock The City,' the thundering 'Now Comes The Storm' and then 'Thunder On The Tundra.' The original album is brought to a close with both the KIISSesque 'Hot Flames' and 'Ride Of The Chariots,' and then it's the turn of 4 songs from The Edge of Hell: 'Wild Life,' 'Steal Your Thunder,' 'Energy' and then 'We Live to Rock.'

Next up and 5 demos, and yes, they all sound exactly like demos should do: 'All Evil in My Path' (1983), 'Forever and After' (1982), 'Anger Is My Middle Name' (19810,' and then both 'I Am Thunderhawk' (1986), and 'Ride Away From You' (1981). The entire disc is then brought to a close with live recordings of both 'Lightning Strikes' (1984) and then finally, 'Thunder on the Tundra' (1984).

The live action DVD is culled together from clips of shows such as: Marquee, London, 1984, Great Yarmouth Festival 1984, Connecticut 1983, New York 1983, New York 1982, Washington DC 1982, Great Yarmouth Festival 1984, Vancouver, Canada 1984, and also somewhere in the United Kingdom 1984.

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk