"Impact is Imminent" (AFM Records; 2022)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Anvil's been around a long time, and there story is well-recorded. There are those who would tell you that that's the reason the band is still around, that the award-winning documentary, "Anvil! The Story of Anvil," gave them a new least on life. And that may be true. But the fact of the matter is that Anvil is still around because Anvil is still Anvil ... a heavy metal band that doesn't give up and that can still deliver the goods even on this, their 19th(!) studio album.

"Impact is Imminent" is classic heavy metal from start to finish. It's got chunky riffs, irresistible melodies, a solid rhythm section and songs that you find yourself singing along to halfway through your first listen. It's classic metal in the vein of Accept, Saxon and (ahem) Spinal Tap and it's as strong on this album as it is on any of the band's previous albums.

There isn't a track here I don't like (although I like some less than others), but my favorites are "Fire Rain," which, for some reason, reminds me of Ted Nugent's "Weekend Warrior" days, and "Explosive Energy," which sounds early on like Dio-era Black Sabbath. The speedy "Ghost Shadow" hooks itself into your brain as well.

There's some weird stuff here, too, notably the instrumental "Teabag," which is placed oddly as the album's fifth track, and the closer, "Gomez," which appears to be the same tune ... with trumpets. An odd way to close the album.

Let's face it, the heavy metal world is better with Anvil in it. They may not be the greatest heavy metal band of all time but they've stuck it out and, goddammit, they get major points for that.

Anvil: Lips - Vocals & Guitar; Robb Reiner - Drums; Chris Robertson - Bass.

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"Hope in Hell" (The End Records; 2013)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

I don't own any Anvil records, I only learned about them when I saw the documentary "Anvil! The Story of Anvil" on Netflix. I—maybe like you—found out about the band the same way. After watching the documentary (or "rockumentary") I started to listen to their back catalogue of music. I can hear all the bands they influenced: Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer. I also think the reason Anvil never made it big time stems from a couple of things: First, they started the sound that spawned the aforementioned bands that now hold the crown -- that means they will play homage but not pay homage meaning I don't think Metallica would take Anvil on tour with them. Second, Canada was not known for pumping out metal bands and I think Anvil just got overlooked. Remember, its better to be looked over than overlooked.

The album has great guitar and lyrics and it's a straight-forward metal record. Lips has that classic but updated metal sound screaming from his guitar. The guy can really play despite what their popularity might suggest. Since the documentary was released back in 2008 and then made its way to Netflix in 2012 a lot of people have discovered them and that has boosted their album sales and prompted them to keep recording albums; thus tours will ensue. Lips is also a great soloist, he's got some nasty chops and he would give a few of those speed demons a lesson on what to play instead of how to play.

"Hope in Hell" has eleven songs, you can grab two more if you head over to iTunes.

Anvil: Lips - Vocals & Guitar; Robb Reiner - Drums; Sal Italiano - Bass.

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"This is Thirteen" (VH-1 Classic; 2009)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The fact this is the first Anvil CD review we've run in our eleven years of online existence is in itself evidence of the lack of respect that Anvil has received in their 31 years of existence. And, for that, we apologize. The fact of the matter is that we've been fans of Anvil forever but, like too many others, we took them for granted. It seems like the band has always been there, always turning out strong album after strong album, but never really getting the attention they deserve.

The 2009 movie, "Anvil! The Story of Anvil" not only brought the band's long career to the attention of the masses, it also reminded those of us who have been casual fans throughout all these years that the band is still out there and that they're still making great music. Which brings us to "This is Thirteen," the band's latest studio recording.

Originally released in Europe in 2007, and now seeing U.S. release due to the movie's enormous popularity (and probably the band's music appearing on the Rock Star video game), "This is Thirteen" is the band's thirteenth studio album, and features 13 new tracks. (Also featured on the U.S. version is a bonus track, "Thumb Hang"). 

The CD is just what you'd expect it to be: Pure, unadulterated, classic, Anvil-style heavy metal. Most of the songs are mid-paced rockers, heavy with bass and chunky guitar, with simply lyrics and irresistible sing-along choruses.  The title track starts things off with an almost regal chorus of "This is Thirteen" and is followed by more of the same ... sometimes a little too much the same; some tracks sound nearly the same as others. Occasionally, however, things really kick into gear with faster tracks like "Should'a Would'a Could'a).

Is there anything fresh and original here? Not really. Does the band experiment with any new sounds of styles? Well, no. Do they succeed in delivering an album that will have you pumping your fist, playing air guitar and chanting along with the choruses while you drive? Hell, yes!

As stated above, Anvil has been around for 31 years now and "This is Thirteen" proves they're not ready to go away any time soon. After listening to this CD, and seeing "Anvil! The Story of Anvil!" I won't be taking them for granted again.

Anvil: Robb Reiner - drums; Lips - lead guitars, lead vocals; Glenn Five - Bass guitar.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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