Canadian metal mongers Anvil have been around a long time. Formed in the late 70's under the name Lips, the band's name was later changed to reflect the heaviness of the music they created. In the mid 80's Steve "Lips" Kudlow, Dave "Squirrely" Allison, Robb Reiner and Ian Dickson constantly adorned the covers of magazines like Kerrang and Metal Forces and made a major impact on thrash and speed metal. For some odd reason their popularity swiftly dropped off after the release of the "Backwaxed" collection. Anvil, along with their Canadian counterparts Exciter, fell behind bands like Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, and the soon emerging Bay Area thrash movement. Despite this setback, as well as label problems, legal problems, and the loss of members, Anvil has forged ahead, continuing to release high caliber heavy metal year after year. Their popularity increased once again with the release of the movie "Anvil-The Story of Anvil" in 2009.
"Anvil's music would turn out to be the bridge between that first wave of British heavy metal and the new wave of American speed or thrash metal."
thought that metal was a trend, I've got some news for you my friend. Anvil
music is what I am. I really don't give a damn if you think that we suck...
"Hard 'n Heavy" was originally released under the band name LIPS, until the band signed with Attic Records and changed their name to Anvil. "Hard 'N Heavy" sounds unlike any other Anvil album. Before recording it the band had been playing the bar scene in Canada for many years in the late 70's. This album is a result of those years of bar shows. It's less metallic, and certainly less aggressive, but having grown up with this album it has a certain appeal that I have always liked. Songs like "School Love" and "AC/DC" reek of that early NWOBHM sound, although Anvil obviously are not a European band. Even the obligitory cover of the Stone's "Paint It Black" has that infectious, raw edge that made bands like Raven and Anvil so appealing in the early 80's. Of particular interest to me is the Ted Nugent influences, especially on the song "Bondage" which plays considerable homage to 'ol Teddy during the guitar solo of the song. However, the Ted Nugent influence seems to be throughout. Unfortunately the lyrics on this album are all pretty cliché and downright silly, sounding much like Spinal Tap's "Sex Farm."
A groundbreaking album in the heavy metal scene. Canada's Anvil were one of the few band's outside of Europe to have a significant effect in the NWOBHM scene. Anvil were gaining major popularity with the release of "Metal On Metal" and with good reason. The intensity level of this disc is like few others, especially coming from North America. Musically songs like "666" are matched by no one else. As a matter of fact, with the possible exception of Accept's "Fast As A Shark" or a few Raven tunes, this could be considered the first thrash metal song. Unfortunately the lyrical theme of this song is as cliché as one might imagine with such a song title. Lines like "I'd rather be a king below than a servant above...You heard my warning but you didn't, didn't, didn't learn...6, 6, 6" are rather insipid and typical of the early 80's heavy metal scene. Shock value is the name of the game here. Fortunately the rest of the album doesn't echo these same themes. "Metal on Metal", the song, is a metal anthem that still sounds a pounding as ever. This particular song is probably the band's most well known and respected, as much for it's lyrics as for the music. "March of the Crabs" is an instrumental that has been a concert staple and fan favorite ever since this album was released. If I am not mistaken, however, this song was being played by the band live even before this album was recorded. "Stop Me" is another one of those songs that will ring in your head forever with it's catchy melody and chorus. This song is about a female fan that wouldn't give into the band's sexual desires beyond a kiss. Overall, a raw, heavy slab of molten metal. Over two decades later and "Metal on Metal" is still one of the band's most respected albums. For years this album was nearly impossible to find, other than on the atrocious "Molten Masterpeices" re-issue. Finally in 2002 Unidisc put out remastered versions of the band's first four albums. There isn't much in the way of additional liner notes or photos, but all the original notes and cover art are included.
Six Feet Under recorded a cover of the song "Metal on Metal".
This album was released by Attic, apparently with no interaction, or permission for that matter, from the band. This is why the album is not named in the usual Anvil fashion and is the only album to not have an anvil on the cover. The first 5 tracks were previously unreleased, except for "Steamin'" which was released as a limited edition European 12" EP. (Essentually unreleased.) The other 5 are from the first 3 albums. "Steamin'", "You're A Liar" and "Fryin' Cryin'" were apparently all recorded during the "Metal on Metal" sessions, but left off the album for unknown reasons. Of the "Forged in Fire" tracks, the label picked out the worst song from this excellent classic ("Butter-Bust Jerky" ). It's not that the song is bad, just that there are far better on the album, including the the title song. Only one song from the band's impossible to find first album makes it's way too ("School Love.") 'Metal on Metal' is one of my favorite metal anthems ever. Always thought it would be a cool song for some band to cover, but I have yet to hear one. This song has some gnarly vocals laid on top of a mean metal riff. Of the unreleased material, the best is "Steamin'" with it's shred solos and the instrumental "Pussy Poison." According to the liner notes this song was left off 'Hard n Heavy' due to the song title. "Backwaxed" a totally vile sex song that was left of 'Metal on Metal' for it's lyrical content. Odd that they would exclude a song for lyrical content, as if this was the only foul song the band ever wrote. "You're A Liar" features the vocals of guitarist Dave Allison for the first (and only) time. Overall, a decent compilation that has some nice rarities.
Anvil - Pound for Pound (Metal Blade) 1988
1. "Blood on the Ice"
Yet another solid slab of heavy metal from Canada's Anvil. "Pound for Pound" was considered a return to form after a somewhat commercial, and disappointing "Strength of Steel." (Although I disagree that it was disappointing.) "Strength of Steel" is as equally pummeling as 'Metal on Metal' and 'Forged in Fire.' As usual for Anvil, some of the lyrics leave a bit to be desired, although I dig the brutal take on ice hockey in "Blood on the Ice". "Corporate Preacher" is yet another slam on TV Evangelists. Unfortunately, in 1988, some of the more well known evangelists were deserving of the chastisement they were receiving. What is unfortunate is that because of a few bad preachers, all TV evangelists are lumped into the 'money hungry robbers' category. Of course, what would an Anvil album be without a silly porn song? This one has two: a sexual square dance called "Toe Jam" that is just a fun romp and ditty, and "Safe Sex," yes a Spinal Tap-ish song about condom use. Yippie! This is one tradition I wish Anvil would drop. However, despite the lyrics, I stil find "Pound for Pound" to be an essential Anvil album. Unfortunately it would be their last studio album with original member Dave Allison.
Anvil - Past & Present Live (Metal Blade) 1989
"Past & Present Live" was recorded in San Pedro, California, USA and was the last album to feature Dave Allison. Much of the material on this disc is from the bands second and third albums. "March Of The Crabs", "Jackhammer", Metal On Metal", "666" and "Mothra" were originally recorded on 'Metal on Metal.' "Motormount", "Forged In Fire" and "Winged Assassins" were originally recorded on 'Forged in Fire.' "March of the Crabs" features a vicious drum solo by Robb Reiner, who is absolutely one of the heaviest drummers in the world. Overall the band give a good performance and a there is a good mix of songs, although I would have also liked to hear "School Love." Still, a killer live performance from one of the originators of speed metal.
Anvil - Worth The Weight (Mausoleum) 1991
This one was some three years in the making and certainly Lips and company did not disappoint. New guitarist Sebastian Marino, who later joined Overkill, did an outstanding job. The songs are all bone crushing, not unlike an anvil might do if it were dropped on someone's skull. Long time skin pounder Rob Reiner sounds like he may have needed a new drum set after each song, as he totally destroyed the kit. The band has added some more technical leanings as well, making the songs themselves more interesting than that of anything on 'Pound for Pound.' Tempo changes, stops and starts, and mega-riffs abound. Certainly the band was trying to make a statement musically with this disc. This was the last album for original bassist Ian Dickson.
Some other non-important information that I stole off the band's web page;
I'm sorry but I'm just not interested in hearing a song about how often Lips yanks his own chain ("5 Knuckle Shuffle"), nor do I care how much of a pot-head he is ("Smokin' Green"). Unfortunately, the lyrics on this disc are all pretty stupid. The music on the other hand, is excellent power/speed metal. Lips voice sounds as good as ever and the production on this disc is some of the best they have ever had, but the lyrics really hold this disc back. Great title for a metal disc though.
Once again, Anvil dishes out some seriously heavy speed metal with those signature guitar solos and vocals of Lips. The lyrics on this disc, as with most Anvil discs, are a mixed bag. On the one hand we have a serious look at politics ("No One To Follow") and religious greed ("Green Jesus") sandwiched in between songs like "Show Me Your Tits" and "Hair Pie", both self explanatory. "Rubber Neck" is a song about driving by a car accident and staring at the accident rather than driving your own car, something everyone does where I live. "Piss Test" is about how current society has infringed the rights and privacy of people by forcing them to urinate in those little cups before getting a job, etc. So once again, great music, but I could do without the twisted sex songs. This album is their first album with Glenn Gyorffy. I also read on Anvil's homepage that there are two slightly different covers for this album. The difference is in the color of the lettering at the bottom of the cd.
Anvil - Speed of Sound (Massacre) 1998
One thing can be said of Anvil, they are certainly consistent. Canada's favorite speed metal band has progressively taken their production up to the highest standards, but the music and lyrical themes have not changed all that much. As usual there are the politically incorrect song ('Park the Truck'), the song about how metal reigns supreme ('Speed of Sound'), and the oddball sex song ('Matress Mambo). The music is faster than most of their early classics, but still retains the speed metal label. Lips voice sounds as brutal as ever. Overall, another fine Anvil output! Crank it up!
Anvil - Anthology of Anvil (Metal Blade) 2000
Excellent career retrospective of one of heavy metal's most respected underground bands. One of the nice things about this disc is the lengthy liner notes, written by fellow Canadian Martin Poppoff, author of the Heavy Metal Collector's Guide. The five page write-up is titled "Anvil: 20 Years of Thrash," and includes quotes by Anvil members as well as personal comments by Lips about specific songs on this collection. We are even given explanations as to why original members Ian Dickson and Dave Allison left the band. A complete discography (minus "Backwaxed") is also included. The song selection comes from all the band's releases but has a strong showing from "Metal On Metal" material. Unfortunately, there is only one rare song. "Stolen" is from the Japanese version of "Plugged in Permanent". This particular track has not been released on any other Anvil release until this collection. My only wish would have been for a couple more "Hard n Heavy" tracks.
Well, as I have said before, Anvil are nothing if not consistent. I can't imagine any fan of the band not liking this disc as it's pure Anvil speed metal. The Canadian metal legend are one of the very few bands, who were part of the early days of the metal scene and have never let their musical direction waver nor have they let their fans down. One noticeable improvement, at least in my opinion, is the lack of any silly porno songs. HORRAYYYY! I applaud this for sure. Lyrical content covers topics like Pro Wrestling, Disgruntled Postal Workers, Armageddon, being chased by the police and even someone who is addicted to the computer ("Computer Drone"). One other minor change is that the overall sound of "Plenty of Power" is less thrash oriented than the last few albums, recalling more of the "Metal on Metal/Forged in Fire" days. There is still plenty of speed, especially in songs like "Real Metal," which is a song that would make Manowar proud! The last song is a bonus track that is apparently only on the Canadian version. The European version has a bonus track called "Dirty Dorothy".
My copy is autographed by Lips, Robb Reiner, and Glenn Five.
Anvil - Still Going Strong (Massacre) 2002
As the title so eloquently puts it, Anvil are Still Going Strong. If anyone is looking for a change in style from 'ol Anvil, they need to look elsewhere because Anvil are still putting forth bone crushing heavy metal. For some reason, "Still Going Strong" seems to be less focused on speed and aggression than "Speed of Sound" and more on songwriting. The album starts off with a heavy riff that sounds like if could have been written for Judas Priest's "Painkiller", and never really lets up from track one through track ten. Lyrically, Lips doesn't cover any new ground, once again singing the praises of heavy metal and cannabis sativa, as well as his usual rants about living free and religious wrongs. For me personally, some songs are intriguing, causing me to dig out the lyrics and take a deeper look. However, other songs tend to just irritate me. On this disc we have songs like "Holy Wood", that rightly questions the terrible problems within the Catholic church, but at the same time questions whether the entire Bible is even valid. "The Bible is a book that started with Adam and Eve, filled with mambo jumbo, do you believe?" Well, I do! In any case, I particularly like the lyrics to the title track that give a brief overview of rock 'n' roll and plainly states, "critics said, it won't last long, (but) after 50 years, still going strong." "Waiting" gave me a good laugh. Only Lips would think to write a song about how impatient he is and how much he hates having to wait in lines at the grocery store and at banks. "White Rhino" is an instrumental that is made up mostly of a very cool drum solo. Drum and guitar solos have become very unpopular in recent years, so it could be said that Anvil are now the one's going against the grain. But then Anvil never have really cared for trends. Perhaps that is why they are Still Going Strong while many others have passed away.
Anvil - Ironclad-The Very Best of Anvil
An excellent two disc compilation of the finest metal Anvil has to offer. The reason this disc is so excellent is because it was put together by a friend and myself. We chose some of our favorites from each and every Anvil release, save for Backwaxed (1985) and 'Past & Present Live' (1989). I wanted to include "Steamin'" and the instrumental "Pussy Poison", but unfortunatly ran out of room. On disc two we didn't include any tracks from their newly released 'Back to the Basics' CD because, once again, we ran out of room and didn't want to delete any songs that were already included from the strong Speed of Sound, Plenty of Power and Still Going Strong albums. Of course I wouldn't even include this disc on my site if it weren't for the professional way the discs were made, right down to the cool Anvil cover and print on the disc. (thanks Trog) Here is the breakdown:
Anvil - Back to Basics (Massacre Records) 2004
Some bands change directions and styles with each new release, others are like Motorhead, AC/DC and Anvil that know what they do best and prefer to refine their own sound and stay within the confines of that sound. That is certainly the case with Anvil, they are nothing if not consistent. Because of that Anvil take flack from reviewers who are looking for the next new thing. This fan, however, prefers that Anvil sticks to their classic heavy metal sound and that is exactly what Lips and Co. did with "Back to the Basics". This disc is pure heavy metal from the vicious "The Chainsaw" and "Bottom Feeder" to the melodic "Cruel World." As would be expected from an Anvil disc, there are plenty of choice guitar licks laid over top the chugging riffage. OK, so perhaps I am just an Anvil die-hard and will not be able to find fault with anything they do. So what! As long as Anvil keeps pumping out Metal on Metal I will be buying their music.
Add to the appeal a live DVD from the 1998 Wacken Open Air Festival. The sound and picture quality here are good. It's apparent that Lips was in metal heaven on that stage in front of thousands of screaming metalheads. Wish I could have been there. While the sticker on the front says that this CD/DVD version of "Back to the Basics" is a "special edition" I have yet to see an edition without the live DVD. According to the official Anvil website, the U.S. release will have the DVD too, which is cool since the Massacre version is in PAL format and won't play on most U.S. DVD players. Unfortunately for us Americans this CD was release almost a half a year after it was released in Germany. (As of writing this in June 2004, the U.S. version still isn't out and isn't expected out until August.)
I've said it before, Anvil are like Motorhead and AC/DC, they've been around for decades and they don't really waver from what they do. When you hear an Anvil song, you immediately know it's them. They aren't overly flashy or technical. Rather, they know what they do and they do it well. "This Is Thirteen" is exactly what you would expect from Anvil; classic heavy metal. Where "This is Thirteen" improves upon "Back to the Basics" is that there is more variety in the tempo from song to song, giving the songs more separation. There is the slow, heavy, almost doomy title track, that reminds me of the classic "Forged in Fire", to the mid-paced classic sound of "Burning Bridges" to the speed metal of songs like "Bombs Away", "Ready to fight" and "Room #9". As well, the band reunited with their old producer Chris Tsangarides, who produced "Metal on Metal" and "Forged in Fire", giving "This is Thirteen" a sound not unlike those early classics.
"This is Thirteen" is indeed Anvil's thirteen album and offers thirteen new tracks. For the first time since the band recorded their debut under the name Lips in 1980, Anvil has released this studio album as an independent band. The first pressing of CDs is limited to only 1000 units. I asked the band directly about why they chose to go independent with this album and this was the reply:
About a year after the original release of "This Is Thirteen" the movie "Anvil, The Story of Anvil" went into theaters. It features a real life Spinal Tap in Anvil and gained the band some new fans and noteriety. Well, all I have to say is, its about time! Anvil are long overdue! With the movie, VH-1 Classic picked up "This Is Thirteen" for re-release on CD and vinyl with an additional bonus track. I picked up the vinyl version since I already own the original CD pressing direct from the band. The LP includes three bonus tracks including the new song "Thumb Hang" and two re-recorded classics.
Having been a die-hard Anvil fan since hearing “Metal on Metal” in 1983, I was excited to find out that there would be an Anvil documentary made. Who would have thought that the movie would be a hit and help re-launch the band’s career. “Anvil-The Story of Anvil” is more than a documentary. It’s a movie. Anvil comes off as hapless and loveable, but also come off looking like a real life Spinal Tap. There are just too many parallels to Spinal Tap to list, but there is the separation and reunion of the two best friends, getting lost on the way to a gig, playing before 174 people in a 10,000 capacity venue, inept management, and of course the over the top, ridiculous song lyrics. They don’t visit Elvis’ tomb, but the do visit Stonehenge. It’s all there and it’s all Anvil. On top of that, the movie is quite funny at times and heart-wrenching at others. My wife, who is not a metal fan, even enjoyed the movie. Steve "Lips" Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner aren’t just characters, these are real guys who have waived their metal flag since their inception. In a nutshell, this is a movie about two guys who refuse to give up on a dream and we, the audience, get to take a very personal look inside these two guys. This movie is bound to make Anvil some new fans and rekindle the interest of some older fans.
Also picked up the biography of Anvil. I had thought that it might just be the movie set to print, however, the book goes into much more detail about the band, the individual members, the recordings, touring, their victories and stuggles and their thoughts on what has transpired over the years with the band. It was a terrific read and I tore through the book in no time at all. The book includes several color pages with vintage photos of the band as well.
My video is autographed by Steve "Lips" Kudlow & drummer Robb .
Anvil - Juggernaut Of Justice (The End Records) 2011
1. Hope in Hell (4:43)
2. Eat your Words (3:41)
3. Through With You (4:48)
4. The Fight Is Never Won (4:29)
5. Pay the Toll (2:48)
6. Flying (4:51)
7. Call of Duty (3:54)
8. Badass Rock n Roll (4:36)
9. Time Shows no Mercy (4:35)
10. Mankind Machine (4:14)
11. Shut the Fuck Up (3:38)
12. Hard Wired (3:09)
13. Fire at Will (4:04)
If the page full of Anvil reviews above this one don't speak volumes about how much of a fan of this band I am, nothing will. I always look forward to each new Anvil album with anticipation. Since "The Anvil Movie" Anvil's popularity has grown, but frankly I don't care how popular a band is. I've been an Anvil diehard since I first heard "Metal on Metal" back in the early 80's and I followed them through the lean and mean years right down through to purchasing "This Is Thirteen" as an independent release directly from Robb Reiner. My hope is that the band wouldn't change with growing popularity and pressure from labels and producers. I count on Anvil for simple, straight-forward, pounding, heavy metal. Thankfully that is exactly what the band has delivered even since the hit movie, and "Hope in Hell" is no exception. Anvil still sound like Anvil. There are still the slow, driving, heavy songs like the title track and "Call of Duty" as well as the songs that border thrash metal like "Eat Your Words" and "Shut the Fuck Up". ("Call of Duty" has a big "Forged in Fire" vibe.) What has improved, however, is the production. Bob Marlette (Alice Cooper, Iommi) who produced the band's last album "Juggernaut of Justice" delivers some of the best production on any Anvil yet. "Hope in Hell" is heavy, driven by a vicious guitar tone and Rob's pounding drums. If anyone wasn't a fan of Anvil in the past, I doubt that "Hope in Hell" will change their minds. However, those expecting Anvil to deliver the goods like they always have won't be let down.