Was nicely surprised by this album. Bill's always had an intense flow and way with wordplay but I found this to be his first proper album where his themes and lyrical content matched his skills. Unlike many hardcore rappers he's managed to expand the complexity of his lyrics and narrative without sacrificing a raw delivery. I found his solo debut "what's wrong with bill" to be a bit schizophrenic and lacking cohesion in parts, an album that sounded more like a collection of singles and b-sides.
THOR is way more focused, as the concept attests to (cramming your complete life view into 1 hour). Bill's managed to make an album here that manages to marry the political, thug, mosh and hip hop identities into a great album. Have to give it up for bill for getting such a stellar, not to mention eclectic, list of collabs on this: the first premo beat any NP member has blessed since the almighty "rockstars", "society is brainwashed" is def one of my favourites, with the kind of message hip hop needs more of these days. Others include dj muggs and b-real of cypress hill fame, vinnie paz of JMT, raekwon from the wu, immortal tech and some metal heads im not familiar with. Can't say im a La Coka Nostra fan mostly because the mcs are past it and bill blows all of them out of the water without getting out of bed.
The best thing about this album is first and foremost you feel bill pouring his soul out before appealing to normal hip hop head sensibilities. His outlooks definitely matured since his earlier stuff, epitomised by his treatment of the infamous uncle howie: where he was once brought in as a novelty burn-out on NP skits, here bill shows the battle between love and frustration on "my uncle shoots heroin" and sounds like he cares how howie ends up. Elsewhere "Riya" is a pretty heartfelt sentiment to his baby daughter that eclipses the thugged out nihilism of most other hardcore rappers. Note on the production, defo pretty different from the norm, cant say i felt all of it, esp. the last track, but it's given me more faith in rap metal than anything since the moshpit rmx of enter the dragon. Respect to bill for doing his thing and putting out an album no one else could make.
NB: if you thought the latest JMT release wasn't up to much this might put a smile on your face