Tag Archives: smog veil records

“The Way Things Work” by The Unknown Instructors

Artist: The Unknown Instructors
Title: “The Way Things Work”
Label: Smog Veil Records
Release Date: 9/20/2005
Genre: Fusion/Jazz/Rock
Rating: 3/5

“The Way Things Work” is the debut album by the Unknown Instructors which by their label are listed as a Punk-Jazz-Rock Experimental Super-Group and if you think that the specification is a lot to absorb just wait until you hear what’s happening on the CD. The sound is unlike anything that I had ever heard and that’s because it blends the elements of Jazz with Punk and also freeform spoken word poetry which when blended together deliver something that is not easily enjoyed or even understood with one simple listen. The fascinating project finds Mike Watt on bass, George Hurley on drums, Joe Baiza on guitar, Dan McGuire on vocals with special guest Jack Brewer offering up additional vocals. According to the press release that I dug up when listening to the album the entire release was recorded during one involved four hour session and all of the vocals were improvised. This made it rather interesting to absorb because how does one define good or bad on something where so much creativity is pulling the musical understanding into different shapes and forms that are not often done together. This might not be something for everyone, but I feel those lovers of the Progressive vibe might be open to it or those who lean to the extreme Avant-garde Experimental sort of things. As I mentioned this piece of music cannot be clearly understood after a single listen and I myself had spun it several times before I even had any semblance of an idea about it. I think if you are someone who appreciates those who bring difference to the musical table might enjoy it the most while those who have a clear genre classification that they abide by should give this a pass. They wouldn’t get it nor be expected to.
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“Devastation Of Musculation” by Thor

Artist: Thor
Title: “Devastation Of Musculation”
Label: Smog Veil Records
Release Date: 7/25/2006
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 3/5

All Hail the return of the Mighty Thor! Yes, Canada’s muscle man of Metal has recorded a follow-up to his very well received “Thor Against The World” and it boils down to a “Devastation Of Musculation”. Thor said of the new album that “people are under pressure to achieve the impossible everyday and trying to make sense of these desperate measures is what this album is all about”. In that he continues his tales of bravery and strength in the face of adversity and above all believing in one’s own power to face any obstacle. It’s a positive way of thinking in terms of Hard Rock and Metal music where so much of the bands today focus on the darker aspect of things. Those who have heard Thor in the past, know very well of his constant efforts to hold high the powers of the Rock Warrior. When you listen to Thor, you cannot expect to find the expanding Power Metal elite but instead a return to a simpler musical time and subject matter is what comes into play. Thor is to be admired and complimented for this zeal, for while not possessing the range of lets say Rob Halford, he does sing with energy and enthusiasm that has made him a popular musical personality for the 30 years he has been in the business. Musically this is a very fun album as well, and with songs like “Lies Of Eternity”, “Cold White Ghost” and “Union Of Power” he shows that there is a solid level of musical strength to work with his lyrics and subject matter. Thor also delivers a ballad on the album in “Abandon”, which is this recordings version of “Turn To Blue” (one of the best songs off “Thor Against The World”). If you can take this CD as what it is supposed to do and that is entertain I think it’s a winner and in a world that so sorely needs heroes today, isn’t it nice to know that Thor walks among us? Raise the hammers high.
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“An-Thor-Logy” by Thor

Artist: Thor
Title: “An-Thor-Logy”
Label: Smog Veil Records
Release Date: 7/26/2005
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 7/10

Thor is and always was one of the most interesting people in Hard Rock music. This DVD is a perfect historical document to the first 20 years of Jon Mikl Thor’s career and his efforts to defend the music fan from the forces of evil. It is a battle he has fought well, and you are given the reminder very well in this DVD appropriately titled “An-Thor-Logy”. Starting with footage that dates back to 1976, on the Merv Griffin show of all things, we see Thor first as a Las Vegas styled “strongman entertainer”. He performs the song “Action” by The Sweet, and personally I am not a fan of Sweet covers when I can listen to the real thing. Thor’s voice is also not of the register for such a vocal range. Despite this, even back then he showcases the hot water bottle inflating he is known for. After this piece he is more showcased as a rock music performer and how his act began and grew ever more interesting over time. There are a few more TV appearances to enjoy on this DVD as well and the old school fans will remember them I am sure.
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“Thor Against The World” by Thor

Artist: Thor
Title: “Thor Against The World”
Label: Smog Veil Records
Release Date: 5/10/2005
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 7

The first time I ever saw Thor had to be on the U68 “Power Hour” some 20 years ago. This was a New York City UHF channel show that featured Heavy Metal videos for an hour a couple of times a week. It was also considered the poor man’s MTV as at the time cable television and MTV were not as commonplace. Despite this title there was still a certain amount of appeal to it because on a regular basis you could count on seeing videos from Stryper, Dio, Yngwie Malmsteen and of course The Mighty Thor. This was long before MTV would ever feature any of these performers and sadder still some never made the transition to the network. So most of us were left to absorb the Metal by turning the dial on the television and aiming those rabbit ears just right to get the best reception. Memories, we all have them, but I digress.
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