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Anvil – Anvil Is Anvil
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Anvil – Anvil Is Anvil

I (like many people in the Metal community if they’re being honest) first became aware of Anvil off the back of the 2009 Rockumentary Anvil! The Story Of Anvil, the heart-warming tale of a band who came within a hairs breadth of fame and glory only to find themselves still plodding away on the club circuit 30 years later still searching for that big break.

No-one with a heart could not be moved by the stoic determination of Lips Kudlow and Robb Reiner to keep the flame of their dream alive and in fairness to them the film did bring them a lot of attention and gave their flagging career a much-needed kick-start.

However with a couple of albums worth of exposure to them under my belt I have come to the realisation that perhaps Anvil never got that big break because, to be quite frank, they’re not very good.

Now I know many of you out there will be up in arms at that last statement, and to be honest I feel like a little piece of my soul just died, but one listen to their new album Anvil Is Anvil (out this month on Steamhammer/SPV) should be enough to convince any discerning fan of Metal music of the veracity of my scurrilous claim. It’s not so much that it’s bad; it’s just that after 3 decades spent honing their craft, you’d expect their sound to have matured or developed in some kind of fashion but to be honest much of what appears on Anvil Is Anvil is extremely dated sounding and more than a little formulaic.

The lyrics in particular are really clumsy and quite juvenile sounding; focussing on such tragically clichéd fare as the evils of the Church on Die For A Lie and the horrors of a zombie apocalypse on the imaginatively entitled Zombie Apocalypse. In fairness to Lips his delivery is pretty decent; it’s the lyrical content of the songs that needs addressing. To be quite blunt about it much of what is on here is frankly sub-par and of a level that you’d expect from a bunch of schoolkids who’ve just put together their first garage band, not 30 years veterans of the scene. There are one or two chinks of light in the darkness; the anthemic, Manowar-esque Gun Control being the prime example, but even that is a pretty mediocre effort by modern standards.

There is no escaping the fact that Anvil Is Anvil is a pretty bad album on all fronts. I feel like I’ve just kicked a puppy by saying that but someone has to because a cinematic hard-luck tale doesn’t make a good band unfortunately.

All that being said it’s still not as fucking boring as the new Megadeth record but that’s another story.