ANVIL. Blue collar Heavy Metal personified. No pretentious attitude or pompousness with this band, just a working man’s ethic and never say die mantra that has led them up to 2009, with VH1 Classic Records picking up and reissuing their self funded album This Is Thirteen. (Good Metal move there, VH1 Classic Records). Unless you have been living underneath the remnants of a crashed UFO for the last six months, Anvil is back. Well, they never really went away for any real measurable length of time. Unlike a throng of prima donna Heavy Metal Bands out there who have taken the sabbatical and returned, expecting rose petals to be thrown everywhere they walk, Anvil is just doing what they always have done… play damn good Heavy Metal Music for anyone who will listen. I am listening, I listened to Anvil in the early ’80′s, their Metal has never left my collection since. Hell, I still have Anvil’s first three - Hard N’ Heavy, Metal On Metal and Forged In Fire on cassette – I could never bring myself to part with them. Anvil has stayed true to themselves and cool Metal things come to those Metal bands who wait. Without getting too deep into this bands history… the best way for anyone unfamiliar with Anvil is to watch or buy their newly released DVD – ANVIL – The Story of ANVIL.
I would have bought this great DVD today, yet my Super Walmart never put it out for sale along with any other newly released CD’s or DVD’s… and that was at 9:30 a.m. EST on October 6th when I left that store today. I did not have time to drive around to other stores for this Anvil DVD today, thanks for nothing Super Walmart. I will make certain to buy the Anvil DVD at f.y.e. now, you better Metal believe it. Ha, Ha, Super Walmart… you lost a sale on that one.
What a perfect segue for the first song I will mention from This Is Thirteen… Big Business. I like this one a Metal ton, a straight on anti-corporate song if there ever was! Anvil’s lyrics are not overdone, they are not out to impress any Rhodes Scholars, ya’ know? Anvil impressed me with Big Business, reminding me that nothing is free and rising fees… oh how true it is. The album opener is This Is Thirteen, with doom laden riffs, my Metal mind wanders over to vintage Tony Iommi and Black Sabbath here. Combined with the slowed down rhythm section here, this song really does take me back to 1982 and I am proud to say that. Bombs Away has Anvil shredding their brand of Thrash, Lips on guitar is not just fundamentally sound, he is Metal be damned… a great guitarist. As a vocalist, Lips never shies away from a bit of diversity, he isn’t fancy yet he is real – I’ll take him over a bushel load of Metal singers I have listened to over the decades. Should’ A Would’ A Could’ A has become my favorite song on This Is Thirteen. Lyrically, this song is right on the Metal money in describing the game of life. Take chances, no regrets, know your enemies, strength to survive and righting a wrong are all covered on Should’ A Would’ A Could’ A, plus it grooves like there is no tomorrow. Game Over, in my Metal opinion, is the heaviest and fastest song on this album… real good. Anvil took out some cool aggression on Game Over, lyrically comparing life to playing a Game Boy game.
Thumb Hang, (the bonus track), has similar, trudging riffs as the opening track This Is Thirteen. Another fine example of a song, that Anvil is not buying into any current trends of Metal anytime soon. Thank God for that. Robb Reiner on drums… what can I say other than he has been damn good his entire career and makes himself heard quite well on this album. Glenn Five makes for more than a Metal compliment on bass guitar, rounding out this trio the outside world is just now embracing as Anvil. In a Metal nutshell, Anvil created fourteen songs that are missing the over produced sheen and gleam of many of today’s Metal albums. There is that blanket of rawness to this album, then again, Anvil was never about being commercially polished anyways. Thank God for that. This is why I always dug the Metal that Anvil has put out over the last three decades. Anvil did not need a billion dollar producer to waltz in the studio and dictate how it’s done… Anvil (and producer Chris Tsangarides) knew what to do all along with This Is Thirteen, one listen through proves it – in my Metal opinion.