Anvil - Anvil is Anvil

Anvil Anvil is Anvil cover
Anvil
Anvil is Anvil
SPV/Steamhammer
2016
6.5
Average: 5.7 (3 votes)
Anvil are back with a new bassist and their sixteenth (?) or so studio anvil… sorry, album! So what’s been going on in the Canadian lands, where Reiner, Lips and co have been mucking about? Well all is “fairly well” albeit things seem to be a bit “tamer” than before…
 
“Daggers and Rum” is a fun enough mid-tempo and heavy handed, number that is plenty playful and even Lips sounds better on it, but it’s more of a novelty than an anthem...
 
“Up, Down, Sideways” is more like it, even if it “rips off” Judas Priest’s “Rapid Fire” ever so slightly… and that chorus, well it’s not exactly… exciting...
 
“Gun Control” is plainly frigging boring, even though it’s ponderous of the gun laws of the Southern neighbors, which is something I can appreciate. Bits and pieces of it are “nice enough” but it would have to be a lot more rhythmical to cut the mustard.
 
“Die for a Lie” is similarly condemning of religion, a theme I could relate with, and it’s even somewhat rhythmical, but thus lacks in heaviness... none of these tracks are horrible, but they fail to set the world on fire if I’m allowed to quote some other Canadians that have similarly stagnated.
 
“Runaway Train” is better, it’s actually quite enjoyable when compared with the tracks that precede it, managing to mix some rocking ‘n rolling vibe with the locomotive “breath” is exhales…
 
“Zombie Apocalypse” is both a little dodgy, but also, more “Anvil”-like than a few of the preceding tracks and manages to endear itself even by ways of repetition. It’s like the soundtrack to your worst nightmares… sung by Lips… oh well!
 
“It’s Your Move” pushes the pedal to the metal in a way that feels both necessary and well timed. The track itself lies somewhere between later day Anvil and Motorhead I guess but not at their heaviest…
 
“Ambushed” is not cut from a much different cloth but it ups the ante with regards to aggression and the “evil” factor and finally the band seems to be “doing things right”… after wasting far too much precious time…
 
“Fire on the Highway” is more of what the album should be about… a piece of nightmarish mid-tempo rock ‘n metal mayhem that works pretty well.
 
“Run Like Hell” gets the balance almost right, but I wish it was a little heavier. It’s a fairly good metal track with signature riffs and a nice lil lead.
 
“Forgive Don’t Forget” is rhythmical and heavy but a bit too simple to really work… at least in my books.
 
“Never Going to Stop” is a bonus track and normally it should have taken the place of one of the more boring “early” album tracks, it might be a bit lighter but it’s pretty good...
 
A couple of points I need to make. Sixteen albums into their career and a couple after the documentary that sort of brought them “back from the dead”, Anvil are doing OK, but they don’t seem able to deliver the goods like they did early in their career… they do manage to deliver a few nice songs per album, but the quality varies and “Anvil is Anvil” is inconsistent at best...
 
Also somehow Anvil have managed to do something that doesn’t suit them. They have managed to clear-produce something that should have sounded a bit “dirtier”, so they are sort of slightly shooting themselves in the foot. They need to be a bit more in your face than this… if they can, without sounding like shit. Now the talents of the band are what they are… Lips is never gonna be a great singer, but if you’ve put up with him for 16 or so albums I don’t think you’re gonna regret that now and Reiner is a helluva drummer, although Anvil is not exactly a band that allows him to unfold his ample talents… still you have to love the band’s unbent and unbroken attitude, as they keep on forging album after album…

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