Anvil Is Anvil. Not just the title of their forthcoming 16th studio album but a statement of intent. Due for release on February 26th 2016 via Steamhammer Records it shows the Canadian power metal trio in a rich vein of songwriting form carried on from their resurgence which resulted in the releases of This Is Thirteen in 2007, Juggernaut Of Justice in 2011 and Hope In Hell in 2013. There is a new line up change as original members Lips and Robb Reiner (who also painted the cover art) are joined by fellow Canadian Chris Robertson on bass guitar who was previously their rehearsal bassist and a member of the Anvil road crew.
Anvil Is Anvil contains 11 tracks + 2 bonus numbers which fly by in a whirlwind 50 minutes. Kicking off with a joyous pirate themed romp entitled ‘Daggers And Rum’, Lips’ grinding riffs backed up by the stomping rhythm section, show that their knack of penning heavy songs with melodic hooks remains undiminished. A leering lead vocal takes us into the chorus of “Scurvy scum, daggers and rum. Daggers and rum, daggers and rum”. A fretboard melting guitar solo midway kicks the album into gear.
Furious power metal riffs flow through ‘Up Down Sideways’ with Robb’s furious drum assault and neat bass runs from Chris pushing the song over the edge. ‘Gun Control’ shows Lips’ fascination with addressing social issues as he tackles the pros and cons of the public having the right to bear arms. It is a brooding slow burner with huge stoner like riffs and bluesy lead guitar breaks. The validity of the Holy Bible is questioned in ‘Die For A Lie’, a drum driven turbo charger with Lips providing some strafing solos.
‘Runaway Train’ literally thunders along like ‘Flying Blind’ from the This Is Thirteen album and is almost impossible not to headbang to with insane guitar fills weaving in and out of the main riff. ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ is another addition to Lip’s arsenal of song lyrics addressing the possibility of a nuclear holocaust. It pounds along like a heavy heartbeat. The hook in ‘It’s Your Move’ reels you in immediately in this commercially heavy number with a mid section containing a manic guitar solo and Robb covering every inch of his drum kit. ‘Ambushed’ has an almost ‘Armed And Ready’ like main riff. This gritty hard rocker contains Lips’ craziest solos on the album and intense choruses.
Track of the album for me is ‘Fire On The Highway’, a raucous rampager with Lips spitting out the lyrics with barely time to catch breath. ‘Run Like Hell’ features metronome like footwork by Robb as Lips’ fizzing riffs lock in with Chris’ bass leading to heavy choruses. The pace is brought down briefly by the crashing riffs and clubbing bass and drums on ‘Forgive Don’t Forget’. Gang like chants of the song title on the chorus ram the point of the subject matter home. The 2 bonus tracks end the album as Robb relentlessly tests the limits of his kit during ‘Never Going To Stop’. The lyrics portray Lips’ love of making music highlighted by the opening lines of “You can never stop it, people try to knock it, we all love to rock it, playing our music loud”. Anvil Is Anvil ends on a high with the off kilter grooves and vocal delivery on ‘You Don’t Know What It’s Like’. Another paen to the lifelong devotion to being in a band.
2016 is already shaping up to be busy for Anvil as they head out on a 50 date European tour between February/April supporting ex Accept vocalist Udo Dirkschneider and then head back to the US for a 19 date headlining tour between May/June. Prepare to be Anvilized!
Anvil band line up :-
Lips – Lead vocals/guitars.
Robb Reiner – Drums.
Chris Robertson – Bass guitar/vocals.
Anvil Is Anvil album track listing :-
Daggers And Rum.
Up Down Sideways.
Die For A Lie.
It’s Your Move.
Fire On The Highway.
Run Like Hell.
Forgive Don’t Forget.
Never Going To Stop (Bonus Track).
You Don’t Know What It’s Like (Bonus Track).