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Valient Thorr / Hammerlord / Mansion

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Recalling acts like Thin Lizzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Iron Maiden, Valient Thorr is a spastic riff-a-thon machine with barely decipherable vocals and harmonized hammer-ons. The band claims a kindred spirit in the MC5, which epitomized the rock-and-roll-can-save-the-world mentality that every hard-working band aspires to. Figure in a viking-sheik fashion sense and you're beginning to understand what Valient Thorr is all about. It takes about two hellraising seconds to figure out that Hammerlord is most definitely metal. Earth-scorching guitar leads, double-bass-drum blasts, guttural vocals, lyrics about spilt blood and the "Throne of Azathoth" -- metal like the wolf. Duel lead guitarists Ty Scott and J.P. Gaughan shred their brains out on Hammerlord's debut self-titled LP, and drummer Adam Mitchell (the original "Hammerlord") is a Guitar Center clinic on 'roids. Note: Early Man is no longer on the bill

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