Review Summary: The Canadian rockers, stubborn as they are, show no signs of backing down as they release their 14th studio album.
For those unfamiliar with the band, Anvil is a Canadian Heavy Metal outfit from Toronto, Ontario. Formed in 1978, Anvil has been cited as a major influence for many groups, having also played an important role in the development of the Speed/Thrash movement with their first releases in the early 80’s. During the lifespan of their 34-year career, the band has chosen to stay true to their principles and their fans by following a certain musical path. The path of those artists who prefer not to change their musical style without giving a damn about their fame, the public reaction, album sales, or their reputation. This is one reason why these guys never became quite popular. They never sold out. In the mid 90’s, and most specifically in 1996 and 1997, during the time when Alternative Rock had a mainstream popularity, they released 2 albums respectively, titled Plugged In Permanent
and Absolutely No Alternative
to hint what they profess. Of course, Anvil are not the only ones who followed this path. AC/DC, Motorhead, Slayer, are all primary examples. However very few groups managed to remain consistent over the years. Anvil and Motorhead are the exceptions. There isn’t a single album in their whole discography that sucks completely and my friends, that is a noteworthy accomplishment.
Thanks to their 2008 documentary The Story Of Anvil
, the band has enjoyed ever since a critical and commercial success they didn’t found even during their most active years. Juggernaut Of Justice
their 14th studio work came in May 2011 to hit the stores. The first thing you may notice, is the symbolic, revealing artwork which depicts a representation of the band's name parting the seas like Moses himself, an answer to all the misfortunes they encountered throughout their career. The actual album, from start to finish, screams high quality "Heavy Metal". The most amazing aspect of this album are the frenzy, energetic performances delivered by the members. Let’s not forget that 2 of them, Steve Kudlow and Robb Reiner are over their fifties, but still that doesn’t seem to be a problem. They sound like they have just entered the naïve period of adolescence. Everything you love about traditional Heavy Metal is founded here: dynamic rhythms, tight, sharp riffs, aggressive solos which are all executed perfectly, intense tempos, all the ingredients are here. You won’t find any soft ballads. You won’t find any songs talking about love or any other relative themes. You won’t find any generosity. Just pure aggression. If you are one of those guys who like this kind of delivered musical honesty this is the album for you.
Most of the compositions are timed between three and four minutes, so the album flows perfectly and you will not feel bored if you choose to dedicate 45 minutes of your time to sit down and listen to it. The length would be much shorter if it wasn’t for the seven minutes epic doom-like Paranormal
. The track bears some resemblance to Sabbath’s titled song and manages to offer something different from the previous tracks. However, it’s not anything special. As an idea, this song isn’t bad at all, but it’s not carefully orchestrated. Lips’s repeated shouts "paranormal”, “paranormal” over the chorus sound annoying and the main riff is played over and over again in a slow tempo for seven minutes. But I think that’s the only dissonance you may find here. Another similar song is New Orleans Voodoo
, which is also slow and has a haunting vibe, but it’s shorter and better executed. The closing instrumental is one of the most interesting songs the band has ever wrote. Flirting with Jazz structures and even integrating a horn section, it may sound as a filler song, but I think that a little experimentation won’t hurt at all. It would be nice to see them writing and experimenting again, in their future studio efforts, with different constructed compositions, while retaing their musical core and applying at the same time some different elements outside of Metal.
To sum up my thoughts, Anvil needs our support. They’ve earned it. They have been on the road for a very long time and despite their classic early releases, only just until recently they managed to make their breakthrough. Whether you like them or not, you must admit that they deserve our respect for doing what they did all these years with honesty love and passion, and for all the good music they have bought to us.
Listen to their albums.
Juggernaut Of Justice
When Hell Breaks Loose
New Orleans Voodoo