Valient Thorr, Riverboat Gamblers

People of Earth, the overlords of Valient Thorr have not come here from their RVT Starship Cruiser to dominate, detain or disembowel us. Nay, these manly mountains of rawk simply offer deliverance from a world of pop-punk high-schoolers, whiny emo brats and blinged-out gangsta wannabes, all of whom would quiver at the mere sight of the Thorrs' intimidating, bushy beards and sleeveless denim jackets with wolf's-fur lining. With the power of the almighty riff and a heavy Motörhead/Thin Lizzy/KISS influence, second album Legend of the World is what Odin spins on the rainbow bridge, though he might question antiwar bombshell 'Exit Strategy" (even if the battlefield is Iraq, not Valhalla). Volcom labelmates the Riverboat Gamblers, on the other hand, do veer toward pop-punk territory, but with enough hard edge to avoid being smote by Thorr's hammer. The Austin group's 2006 album To the Confusion of Our Enemies cribs its title from one of Frank Sinatra's favorite drinking toasts, and it boasts the most excellent song title 'The Art of Getting Fucked." Forsooth! 'Tis a double bill thou must attend, lest thou art in league with Loki.

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