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'Keep The Dogs Away' (2CD+DVD)
Release Date: 20th May 2016

Joe Geesin

joe geesin


Canadian bodybuilder Jon Mikl Thor has been dipping his toes into the music scene since the mid 70s and this, his studio debut, has always held a special place in the heart of fans. This has run parallel to his bodybuilding and acting work.

A vocalist, Thor is as much a performer and entertainer as singer, with his stage show including bending iron bars in his mouth and blowing up hot water bottles like balloons. Too easy to say it's a DC or Marvel image, it is genuine rock n' roll and equally entertaining.

Unavailable on CD for many years, this 1977 release now gets a full blown reissue and lovely it is too. The original release, on RCA, had a very limited distribution outside of North America, and was finally issued in the UK in 1985 (on Gull), on the back of a successful London Marquee show in 1984 first that brought Thor to the public attention on this side of the pond.

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Over the years Thor has won 40 bodybuilding titles, including Mr USA, appeared in several films, and recorded several albums throughout the 80s, 90s and 00s. He first started performing in 1973 and developed the stage show, including having concrete blocks smashed on his chest with a sledgehammer.

Joining Jon Mikl Thor are Terry McKeown (bass), John Shand (guitar and six string bass), David Munkhoff (guitar) and Billy Wade (drums). The album was produced by Ian Guenther and Will Morrison who, alongside Shand, co-wrote much of the album. And who can forget that classic album cover, Thor with four large dogs straining at the leash.

The album kicks off with the title track which, despite any kitsch leanings, is actually very catchy with strong vocals and very decent guitar work. The main riff, albeit simple, is rocking and very difficult to forget.

'Sleeping Giant' features some stand out guitar work and deep strong vocals, the backing vocal harmonies add a good touch while 'Catch A Tiger' has a more commercial feel, the vocals still as strong, and there's a slight hint of American Glam to the sound. 'I'm So Proud' is a short blast, but a hint of boogie adds to a sleazy rock n' roll thrash.

Some strong backing vocals to augment Thor's deep vocals bolster 'Tell Me Lies' and a strong bass riff adds to the sound. 'Military Matters' has a strong and distinctive rhythm; typical of the album and thoroughly enjoyable.

This is a strong, solid and very underrated hard rock album. Not as heavy as the image may infer, but Thor did go a little more Metal in the 80s.

The second disc adds a whopping 22 tracks, previously unreleased and add a real treat. A mix of rock styles, opener Asgardia more pub rock while 'Do The Muscle' (1975 version) a more pre-punk garage rock.

'Away From You' nods to country rock, while others nod to Kiss. The demo of 'Keep The Dogs Away' is a lot more bass and much less guitar, a little too stripped down but show the strength and raw power of the vocals.

Add to this a third disc, a 1980 live show. Well all I'll say here is go watch it. Grab a beer, put it on the big screen, and allow yourself to be entertained.

Not to be taken too seriously, but you'll see the proof that Thor the man and Thor the band are rock n' roll. Grimacing and shred aside, there's some very enjoyable rock moments here.

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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