REVIEW: ANVIL – “Anvil Is Anvil”
Anvil’s iconic history is forged in a solid mix between rock ‘n’ roll and heavy metal, with a few great albums and a couple of bad ones, like many of the exponents from the early 1980’s. Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Rob Reiner have been at it since 1978 and have always stayed true to their roots, earning a considerable amount of respect in the metal community, so when a new Anvil album comes out it always raises some sort of expectation, especially so after the legendary 2009 biographic documentary ‘Anvil: The Story of Anvil’. Only three years after a lacklust effort in ‘Hope in Hell’, Lips and company strike back with ‘Anvil is Anvil’, their 16th full length coming out on February 26th.
The album rests once again in the rock ‘n’ roll/heavy metal formula, with a few glimpses of power metal in some passages. Opener “Daggers and Rum” strikes as a somewhat weird song with a broken-up tempo, but manages to satisfy with its cool intro and likewise cool chorus that features a stereotypical pirate chant. Up next is the best song of the album in my opinion, “Up, Down, Sideway”. This is the summary of Anvil’s career: a fun, fast-tempo tune with catchy melodies, that is at the same time unpretentious and full of attitude. “Gun Control”, “Fire on the Highway” and “Zombie Apocalypse” are mid-tempo songs that don’t actually provide anything special and are bound to be quickly forgotten. Other tunes will perfectly hold the album in high note, though, as the interesting “Die for a Lie”, the fast “It’s Your Move” and “Run Like Hell” and another weird output in “Ambush”. “Forgive Don’t Forget” and bonus “Never Going to Stop” once again illustrate that Anvil is all about the rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere with catchy choruses and tons of attitude, ending the album on a good manner.
‘Anvil is Anvil’ is an ode to themselves and yet another unpretentious yet passionate effort on playing heavy metal music. Lips and Robb often make a point that they have no desire whatsoever of making new and elaborate music, instead relying on their roots and personal taste to craft their art, which can be viewed as a respectful attitude seeing as they don’t bow to the trends, or as just an excuse for lack of inspiration. Either the case, Anvil has managed to explore their own discography and bring up elements from their entire career in ‘Anvil is Anvil’, displaying a solid material with a few flaws and a couple of standout points, but one which I would only recommend for true fans of the band or the really casual listener who is only looking to have some fun and blow-off some steam. Even if you think that the sound never quite evolved over the years – and even if that is actually true – the bread and butter of Anvil is exactly that: staying true until the end.