One look at the album art and you know that, either this guy has a great sense of humor or else he is one of the most self deluded egomaniacs of all time. Humor wins! This is because he really is one of those bigger-than-life people, and has the self confidence and self awareness to make fun of himself. On the cover he holds a group of snarling dobermans. But his body! Herculean proportions, oaken limbs, puissant visage, he looks like an assemblage of over-inflated condoms tied together to approximate the form of a human being. It turns out that Thor is really a successful professional bodybuilder. Among his accomplishments were the titles of Mr. Canada in the 1973 International Federation of Bodybuilders competition and Mr. USA in the 1973 American Amateur Bodybuilding Association competition.
All the songs are boastful and cartoonish. This one, “Military Matters,” begins with nimble descending and ascending scales on the lead guitar. A military beat introduces the singers, declaiming in unison:
I think we’re heading for the rising storm
Show you sights you‘ve never seen before
They’re getting ready for the Third World War
As they ride ride ride ride ri-ide
On the wings of the Valkyrie
Thor orates in stentorian voice:
There’s talk of military matters
I can hear that in the wind
It’s much too hot to handle
As the rumble starts again
This song does not awaken in me the Third-World-War terrors that kept me awake at night in third grade. Rather, it is out of the pages of the comics from that time, like DC’s Sgt. Rock and Marvel’s Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, and, of course, Marvel’s The Mighty Thor. Thor issues forth like a real life comic book hero.
Willi Morrison, John Shand, Ian Guenther, “Military Matters,” Pondfield Music, Inc./Ample Parking Publishing (ASCAP) (1978). From Thor, Keep the Dogs Away, Midsong Records, Manufactured and Distributed by MCA, MCA 2337 (1978). Album Design – John Williamson, Leslie Smart & Associates; Photography – Normands Berzins.