ANVIL – ANVIL IS ANVIL (SPV/Steamhammer Records)



Review by Officer Nice: If this band needs any introduction you’d better start looking for their old shit, so you are able to understand what I am writing about. Why? Because these old Canadians were influencing for so many big bands it is a shame they didn’t become mainstream themselves. As an old Metal warrior I am able to tell something about this band without losing my enduring reverence for them. But… if you have ever the chance to see their movie a lot will become clearer. It is a sad but true story and the reason these guys will forever be respected in our scène, by fans and musicians. Musical wise this is and stays a band of ‘missed chances’, as there are more in the scène but you can’t turn back the hands of time.

In my local music store there was a promotion action lately about the Anvil albums. I didn’t actually order any of these albums but the compilation “Monuments of Metal”. I didn’t hear all of their albums since 1990 but at least 75% of them. Maybe that’s just the problem with Anvil, the fact that a compilation is good enough to tell their history over all those years. But let us be honest by saying other bands suffer the same problem as well, after so many years, decades in this case.

For some reasons Anvil is Anvil and that will stay so forever I suppose. They have a very recognizable sound and they never stepped out of the lines. The fresh tunes from the first two albums or the darkness you could find in “Forged In Fire” never came back and for the old generation these first albums are still the best. I am afraid we will never hear that kind of tunes again from these Canadians. For years it seemed like Anvil was drowning, trying to survive and forgetting what their real trumps really were. Blistering drums from the best drummer on this globe in combination with screaming guitars and tracks that keep on playing in the mind! It still makes me wondering why this band never became as big as Metallica, Maiden or Motörhead. The Glam metal and Thrash Metal overgrew a band like Anvil in the Eighties but many formations found their way in it, Anvil didn’t. But Anvil never vanished, lots of other bands did. So who was wrong? Who deserves the respect after all?

Anvil keeps on playing on ‘automatic pilot’ and therefore the title of this album is very well chosen… But I do admit, although I didn’t follow the band that closely anymore, those ‘old fashioned” leads are constantly available on the new album. Although I am convinced Anvil never really released a bad album, they didn’t release a ‘classic one” either since the old days. Let me say “Anvil Is Anvil” isn’t become a world shocking album but after hearing this newbie I promise you that Anvil really is Anvil. With songs like “Daggers And Rum”, “Up Down Sideway”, “Die For A Lie”, “Ambushed” and the bonus track “Never Going To Stop” you will hear how right I am. Yet I am enjoying the spectacular drum parts and the fantastic screaming guitars on songs like “Up down sideways” and “Runaway Train”, two songs that will be useful on stage. These are songs that are standing the closest to the good old days. The band’s world famous ingredients are available and remain recognizable. And believe me; on stage these guys are still standing strong. Last time I saw them was in a sold-out club in Belgium and they were fantastic.

This album was able to make more than ten spins in a row. Not bad, honestly and this is an album that grows on the listener. How to label this one? As Anvil, of course…. but is it bad or extraordinary? Neither of them yet it is very good Heavy Metal. Pure Anvil from the beginning until the end. From all releases I have heard the last decade “Anvil Is Anvil” is probably their best effort. Fans can buy it blindfolded and will be more than satisfied because of the quality of this one. New Metal heads should really give it a shot and the rest? Well, they can buy it too because Anvil really deserves to be respected for this newest album. I do hope to see them at one or another festival because I am for 100% sure it will be fun as always. Anvil facebook at: Pre-Order “Anvil Is Anvil” via the following link:

My rating: 85/100 (Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)