For many people, Anvil were not known until their dvd, Anvil-The Story Of Anvil, was released in 2009. Also a lot of rock/metal fans may only be familiar with their 3 classic album releases, Hard And Heavy, Metal On Metal and Forged In Fire from 1981,1982,1983 and their 2 most recent recordings,This Is Thirteen and Juggernaut Of Justice from 2009 and 2011 but Steamhammer/SPV records have re-released the 3 studio albums that followed Forged In Fire.Strength Of Steel from 1987,Pound For Pound from 1988 and Worth The Weight from 1991.
There are 2 formats, high class cd digipacks which include new booklets with liner notes from Lips and Robb Reiner and coloured vinyl gatefold albums which are very collectable.Most importantly,Worth The Weight has not been available on vinyl until now and the cd almost impossible to find which meant fans paying ludicrous prices on ebay and even from well established online retailers.Strength Of Steel is red vinyl,Pound For Pound is green and Worth The Weight is orange.
Following Forged In Fire in 1983,Anvil would have to wait 4 years to release Strength Of Steel due to leaving their old record label Attic,being signed by David Krebs and the frustration of his ignorance to let them release new material. Once free from this deal,Anvil recorded Strength Of Steel with Paul La Chapelle with whom they recorded their classic debut Hard And Heavy in 1981.Strength Of Steel was mixed by Dave Allison,Anvil’s then rhythm guitarist.
Anvil wrote between 60-70 songs for the album and picked 10 gems plus a cover of Wild Eyes by fellow Canadians,The Stampeders. The album kicks off with the title track, a whispered vocal intro by Lips leads into this slow burning song with a searing guitar solo midway. Concrete Jungle begins with a signature Robb Reiner drum solo which brought to mind Cozy Powell’s Dance With The Devil and some howling feedback from Lips leading into a huge riff and the chorus shoutout of “Rock,roar,in the land of the predator” in this tale of urban violence. Frustration of a dead end job is the theme for 9-2-5,a catchy but heavy song. A nwobhm style riff dominates I Dreamed It Was The End Of The World with another killer solo by Lips and a chorus that brings melody to the muscle! A personal highlight of mine is next, Flight Of The Bumble Beast. Anvil have wrote many classic instrumentals over their 30 year plus career and this is certainly one of them!
Anvil have always acknowledged their fans and to prove this the next 2 songs were written and dedicated to 2 of them,Cut Loose and Mad Dog,both of whom made cameo appearances in The Story Of Anvil dvd. A shared vocal between Lips and Dave Allison is next on Straight Between The Eyes,probably the most commercial track on the album and this plus the following track,the aforementioned Wild Eyes were on the soundtrack for Sleepaway 2 Unhappy Campers,a U.S comedy/horror film. In complete contrast to the tracks before,Kiss Of Death is the slowest but heaviest track on Strength Of Steel, the brooding intro gives way to a massive riff with Lips’ best vocal on the album. Closing track,Paper General steams along with a headbanging rolling riff and drum barrage in this anti war song.
Track Listing :-
Strength Of Steel.
I Dreamed It Was The End Of The World.
Flight Of The Bumble Beast.
Straight Between The Eyes.
Kiss Of Death.
Anvil were now back in the recording saddle and released the follow up to up Strength Of Steel a year later in Sept. 1988. It was recorded at the same studio and is the last Anvil album featuring Dave Allison on rhythm guitar.
Pound For Pound is yet another classic Anvil album featuring many speed metal workouts. Opening track Blood On The Ice races along,the subject matter being of Lips’ love of ice hockey. Corporate Preacher,a rant at tv evangelists slows the pace with Lips spitting the lyrics out! 2 of Anvil’s fastest songs are next,Toe Jam and Safe Sex obviously documenting on tour activivities. Where Does All The Money Go? tackles the frustration of being in a band and paying the bills with a killer riff and Robbo snapping at his snare drum. Brain Burn is another speed metal ditty with Lips adding guitar flurries throughout. Senile King pounds along from an almost marching drum beat,an anti Mafia song. Just when you thought Anvil could not play any faster,the warp speed Machine Gun follows with Lips soloing like a faster Ted Nugent! Fire In The Night closes the album,a hard rocking number dealing with home loss from a gas leak.
Blood On The Ice.
Where Does All The Money Go?
Fire In The Night.
Due to Dave Allison leaving the band and finding a replacement guitarist,there was a 3 year gap between Pound For Pound and Worth The Weight. Following their 3 album deal with Metal Blade,Worth The Weight was released on Mausoleum and was the last album to feature bassist Ian Dickson.
The new guitarist was Sebastian Marino who was hired for his technical ability. Anvil strived for a 2 lead guitar attack rather than just Lips and a rhythm guitarist and this is highlighted by the album credits where Lips and Sebastian’s guitar leads and breaks are documented. It is a very heavy album,both musically and lyrically as the opening track Infanticide deals with post natal depression. Musically the guitar work of Lips and Sebastian is notable over previous releases as they play off each other,riffing and soloing. On The Way To Hell follows with another foray of duelling guitars over a Black Sabbath type riff. A mini drum solo leads into the first speed metal track,Bushpig. No Anvil album would be complete without a song about the fairer sex and this is no exception to the rule with Lips and Sebastian sharing the leads and breaks 50/50. Embalmer, a personal favourite of mine follows is next with riffs,solos and drumming of the highest order which the likes of Megadeth etc would find hard to beat! Pow Wow takes the foot off the pedal slightly albeit with a dual guitar segment midway. Sins Of The Flesh is next,featuring thought provoking Lips lyrics over a gonzoid riff. A.Z #85 is another anti mafia song name checking Al Capone starting with a chugging riff before speeding up. Sadness,a rare slow song is acoustic led,the lyrics a paen to Vincent Van Gogh but also reflecting Lips/Robbo’s plight of keeping Anvil going whilst also holding daytime jobs which segues into the dark closer Love Me When I’m Dead.
Track Listing :-
On The Way To Hell.
Sins Of The Flesh.
Sadness/Love Me When I’m Dead.
Band members for Strength Of Steel/Pound For Pound :-
Dave Allison-Rhythm Guitar/vocals.
Band Members for Worth The Weight :-
Sebastian Marino-Lead guitar.
I award the 3 albums 9/10.