Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Anvil - Anvil Is Anvil (2016)

This album title has to be either the dumbest or the most genius one ever. We get it, this is Anvil making another Anvil album, but to be sure that everyone knows, they complete the Anvilception with the title "Anvil Is Anvil", and the use of not one, but TWO anvils on the cover. You can't blame the band for missing the sense of self criticizing humour, that is for sure.

Anyway, when it comes to the music the guys play, they seem to always balance on a thin line between groovy and plain ridiculous. It always seem like the band does not take their music seriously, which is fine if you are meant to be a comedic metal band, but is Anvil that, or are they acting serious? It is a question I have never been able to answer, and it is for that reason it is confusing to listen to Anvil.

In my opinion, they are at their best when they focus more on the riffs and the overall groove. When they hit that, it often goes pretty well. The opening two tracks are a good example of this. In "Daggers And Rum", Anvil is making their best Alestorm impression, and cooks up a nice sea shanty that may not blow me away, but it is a nice start to the album. After that, the following track "Up, Down, Sideways" rolls me over with a classic Anvil beat, and some cool instrumentation (like the little solos right before the chorus). Good speed can also be found in "Die For A Lie" and "It's Your Move".

It is when the band tries to complicate things, more precisely slowing things down, when it goes downhill. "Gun Control" is a boring protest (?) song that makes me wanna control a gun towards my head, "Forgive Don't Forget" sounds forced, and with a title like "Zombie Apocalypse", you would expect some action, but instead, you get something that zombies would not only catch up to, but also literally run past. If a zombie outburst is as exciting as this song, then I am sure that there would be more fatalities by sleep than zombie bites. Just bring back "Shut The Fuck Up" please.

I do not blame the guys for at least trying to evolve their sound, but if it has not happened in over 30 years, it is never going to happen. Anvil is making more or less the same songs as they always have done, with simple structures, groovy riffs, and ultra simple choruses where the song title often is the only word spoken. So when the band cannot entertain with their riffs or their quirkiness, what is left? Now that I mentioned it, while going through their discography, I noticed that every album made by the band consists of three words. "Metal On Metal", "Hope In Hell", "This Is Thirteen", yes, all of them do have three words. A weird inside joke, or pure coincidence? I'll let you be the judge of that.

Yeah, this sure is Anvil to the core. "Anvil Is Anvil" is not by any means a disappointment, but it is not a thrilling surprise either. It is Anvil, what more could one expect? Fans of this band will be pleased, and the others should be wise in not giving this effort a try, because you have already heard it. In a weird, kind of odd way, Anvil will always be there, playing the same old songs until they are dead, and to be honest, it would be stupid if it was any other way. Because in the end, Anvil will always be Anvil.

Songs worthy of recognition: "Up, Down, Sideways", Daggers And Rum, It's Your Move

Rating: 5,5/10 Runaway Trains

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