Believe it or not, this is album number sixteen for this little band from Toronto. Lips, Robb Reiner and new bassist Chris Robertson are nothing if not consistent. Throughout their over 35 years of plugging away, it would be difficult to find a point when the band deviated from what they do best. Some might say this is AC/DC syndrome where almost every song sounds the same, but I beg to differ. What Anvil has is a consistency of attitude. There is no point where one could convince me that the band sold out to make a buck, unlike some of their contemporaries, some of whom found enormous success (Metallica) and some of whom struggled to regain their credibility (Raven). You might point to the documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil as that time the band tried to make some dollars, but that really isn’t the case. The movie is an expose of the struggles they’ve had, but I’m not here to review that right now.
Anvil is Anvil is chock full of the Anvil standards. Songs with a political bent, songs of the Heavy Metal lifestyle, songs with lighthearted subject matter. There are plodding tracks and some that are more up-tempo. Nothing flashy, but maybe a surprise or two. Opener Daggers and Rum is, I believe, Anvil‘s first venture into pirate territory. My preferred tracks tend to be the livelier ones like Up, Down, Sideways and It’s Your Move. Be sure to listen for the quick one line Lemmy tribute in the latter song. Lips and company just rock out the only way they know how. Runaway Train, Fire on the Highway, and Run Like Hell are some pretty good headbangers. I can’t say I always agree with Anvil‘s social commentary (Gun Control, Die for a Lie), I respect their right to say those things. No safe spaces here.
I have to mention Reiner‘s performance. I have always enjoyed his playing and here is no different. He’s underrated by most and certainly deserves more recognition. Sometimes flashy and bombastic, he is consistently solid as a rock.
Here is Die for a Lie:
I’ve been with Anvil nearly since the beginning (Metal on Metal) and will hang with them until the end. If you know the band (fan or not), Anvil is Anvil holds no surprises for you. If you don’t know them, check out their legacy and some good old school Heavy Metal.
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