Isen Torr

Mighty & Superior

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In a genre both renowned and reviled for its over-the-top works, Isen Torr's pint-sized heavy metal classic, the Mighty & Superior EP, arguably represents the style's "littlest giant." Here was a band patched together with singular talents culled from multiple underground outfits (Solstice, Twisted Tower Dire, Pagan Altar, etc.), that originally promised to record three vinyl EPs and perform them live on a single occasion, but actually disbanded immediately after their first release (this one), which, incidentally, contained only two epic-length songs. And, in direct relation with the seventh century Anglo-Saxon warrior that gave the group its name, everything about Isen Torr was based on history -- Medieval and musical -- as evidenced by its anthemic "battle metal," replete with soaring vocals, galloping rhythms, and elegiac guitar harmonies and solos, which kept listeners spellbound throughout the nine-minute slogs of the title track and "The Theomachist." Somewhere out there, Iron Maiden's Steve Harris was eating his heart out; but due to the Mighty & Superior EP's unconventional format and modest independent distribution, only the most clued-in heavy metal fans ever got wind of it. And when singer Tony Taylor was killed in a 2010 motorcycle crash, any hopes that the original formation might belatedly fulfill their initial career prophecy, were also given a hero's funeral. But maybe this will be for the better, centuries from now, by allowing history to recount vague memories and shadowy myths about Isen Torr and their "littlest giant" of an EP, Mighty & Superior, to the end. [Reissued on CD for the first time in 2008 by Shadow Kingdom Records, the EP was augmented slightly with an instrumental demo version of "The Theomacist."]

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