Valient Thorr infused their first four albums with heady rhetoric about work, life and political duplicity, under the cover of balls-out rock. Informed by a Tao of searing Iron Maiden licks and MC5's revolutionary zeal, these North Carolina hair farmers emanate adrenaline-spiked fury. The music suggests an extreme sport involving Sterno, acetylene torches, roller skates and pain. (Hey, it reminds you that you're alive, right?)
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Like the Ramones, each member of the quintet has taken a matching surname (Thorr, of course). Unlike the Ramones, they all say the band is a group of Venusians that has crash-landed its time-machine spaceship on Earth. The band's frontman is a former teacher, a vocation evident both in his canny lyrics and in how he leaps into the crowd every night to gather his minions around him. It's theatrical, enthusiastic, ear-rattling entertainment.