ANVIL – POUNDING THE PAVEMENT (SPV/Steamhammer)

Review by Sass Metal: As soon as the download finished I opened the link and couldn’t help but laugh at the first name ‘Bitch in the box’ and I’m so happy I’ve got this album!  Anvil have been close to my heart since 2010/11 when I first watched their documentary.  I remember when the documentary finished I said to myself ‘I want to help them’ fast forward to 2014 and they became the first International band I toured in my home country of New Zealand and in November 2017 I flew to Sydney, Australia to watch them perform yet again and hang out – damn that mosh pit was so much fun!  Even more fun than the shows I ran, I guess because this time I didn’t have to work!  During this show they previewed some of their new songs off this new album so I’m writing this without having listened to any of it and I’m so excited!  I can’t wait to hear what my brothers have come up with.

Like all the 3 piece bands I’ve reviewed (live or recorded) I’m amazed by how full their sound can be with only one guitar in the mix.  Anvil are one of those unique, special bands who’s recordings, every single time, sound like the band is just behind you playing in the same room as they don’t need to rely on effects and layering to bring out their unique sound, although this album does have a few ‘extras’ of vocal effects and samplers – which is awesome that they are playing around with new technology, without losing their musical integrity.  This album is a bit of a change of direction for Anvil, as a lot of their earlier releases have been easily defined as ‘classic heavy metal’ this album has a good mix of this as well some very well done Rock n Roll elements – which I absolutely love as old Rock n Roll is often what I listen to in-between checking out bands I’m booking tours for.   When I went back and edited this review I decided to only focus on my ABSOLUTE favourite songs as in my initial listen and the notes I took this review would have been over 2000 words long!  It’s just so fucking good!

The first song ‘Bitch in the Box’ is something EVERYONE who’s ever been lost on tour or in a strange city or country will know well – as it’s about GPS systems having melt downs and rerouting, or sending you through construction zones and road works and then rerouting and making you turn around and go back through the roadwork’s again, and again and again.  While the lyrics are lighthearted the music certainly isn’t and Lips’s soaring guitar solos layered with Rob’s drums makes this a song that musically means business.  I love the outro with the GPS slowly dying which has succeeded in simultaneously raising my blood pressure remembering my own GPS misadventures and laugh because who hasn’t ever wanted to kill their GPS?

The second track ‘Ego’ is one Anvil have released as a Lyric Video and single for this album and it’s also one they showcased last year when I was in Sydney, where it went down really with the crowd.  Ego is another lighthearted song lyrically but I can’t help but think that’s really dripping with sarcasm and makes me wonder who the song is actually about – about another band they may have played with or some diva’s they have encountered on the road.  As I know Anvil, themselves are very down to earth and take road bumps on tour, on the chin.

The third track ‘Doing what I want’ is one that needs to be listened to UP LOUD!  I feel like it was written for me as I can relate to every single lyric and is a song for the rebels, the rejects, and the people who don’t walk the same path as everyone else.  It’s one for the creative’s who are following their hearts, their dreams and their passions.  This is something that is very important for Anvil and I know that this will be a song they will all play from the heart.  In my conversations with them over the years they have always been very supportive and encouraging of my own dreams and are always on hand for advice with my own music career. I had to listen to this song 3 times before I could focus on the music as lyrically I couldn’t get away from it.  I feel like it’s written for me.  I love the repeated lyrics ‘I’m just doing what I want’ as I feel that’s how I live my life too – following the passion that is music, no matter how often I try to turn away from it, it keeps drawing me back in.  I also love the effects in this song as it starts with what almost sounds like a warning bell done with an amazing distorted guitar and these sounds are repeated throughout the song like an exclamation point.  This is a song showing the side of Anvil that those that know them personally can tell you and stress, that the theme’s explored in this song IS ANVIL.

‘Smash your face’ was a song I wasn’t going to include in the review but after listening to the album again with my notes I can’t not include it, if only for that guitar solo!  FUCK!  Was my first thought when I first listened to this song and I had to check my media player to check it hadn’t skipped to one of my 70s rock n roll tracks.  I don’t’ think I’ve heard a guitar solo like this, in any modern music ever, especially in a heavy metal band – maybe a psychedelic, blues band but it works so well in this song.  Any guitar fan will LOVE this song, if only for that solo!

Time for the title track on the album ‘Pounding the Pavement’ this is one of the most attention grabbing intro’s to a song I’ve heard and as it progresses it soon becomes apparent it is one of the most technical songs of the album.  It’s a musical bridge but one that doesn’t lose the listeners interest.  It sparked mine and I was keen to hear what came next.  I sat back and let the music wash away my thoughts.  Is this really Anvil?  With clever breaks in the music, use of the cow bell, the steady driving bass but Lips guitar are the main focus on this song and it’s amazing!

Rock that shit – drum intro WOW ‘here we are take notice’ followed by dirty, distorted guitar.  This is another example of Anvils wide range of influences and technical abilities.  This song takes you back in time to the 1950’s and 60s world of rock n roll, with modern Thrash Metal elements.  Wow another song I could easily sit and listen to over and over again (be careful it’s an ear worm though!)

World of tomorrow – musically is my favorite track on the album, only just but the musical interlude in this song is amazing.  I keep wondering how bands come up with new sounds for new albums and so often this is the case where bands seem to loose direction or interest.  Anvil is a band that even after 41 years of playing, touring and releasing new music that it’s still possible to come up with new music and sounds.  Following hot on its tracks the next song ‘warming up’ is another musically tight song.  The drums in this song is one of my favorites on this album.

If you have made it this far well done!  So far 1534 words of praise for my Canadian brothers.  I can’t find fault with this album.  Fans of old school Heavy Metal and Rock n Roll this is an album for you.  Do yourselves a favour and buy it!  Anvil are on the road touring Europe and the UK in January I’ll see you at least one of the shows! Additional info at: http://my.tbaytel.net/tgallo/anvil/  https://www.facebook.com/anvilmetal 

My rating: 90/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)

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