Anvil - Legal At Last

Anvil - Legal At Last

(CD, AFM Records, 2020)

For no particular reason, I had missed the ANVIL bus, at least for their last albums before their brand new “Legal At Last”. I don’t know why, but it was one of those strange situations where you keep saying to yourself that you will check that album and you end up not doing so. Now, I feel guilty for doing such thing, especially after hearing how refreshed ANVIL sound in their 18th LP, seeing these never-giving-up Canadians creating Metal for four decades. If this is not impressive, then I do not know what is. At any rate, since ANVIL became legal at last, it is the perfect time to redeem myself by dropping the needle on the wax...

Before talking about the music itself, I have to comment on the rather cheesy album cover artwork that may distract the listener from approaching the lyrics with more than just a tongue-in-cheek mood. I know that the angel and the anvil-bong do not leave much room for being serious, but you’ve got to trust me on this because Lips have some things to say you’d like to think about. Yes, the ‘lighting the bong’ sound doesn’t help either, but the energy coming from the album’s tracklist will put your mind at rest only if you were questioning whether this is ANVIL-worthy music. Because it frickin’ is 100% pure ANVIL Metal from up north. The MOTÖRHEAD Rock ‘n’ Roll rhythm with the pounding drumming, Lips’ characteristic singing and guitar playing are all over this pedal to the Metal album opener. Even this is ANVIL characteristic, I do feel that there is more energy packed in the music. Maybe it is because the trio has found a golden groove that is transcribed into the album that by the way is released through Afm Records. I love the guitar solo in “Nabbed In Nebraska” (you will soon find out the story behind this one from a soon to be published METAL KAOZ interview with Lips). The energy in “Chemtrails” carries an old-school vibe shining through the DIAMOND HEAD sounding rhythm guitars and the sweet double kick drum action. “Gasoline” draws a connecting line with the title track from “This Is Thirteen” but I believe has more guitar action, showcasing that Lips had his lead guitar juices going strong. Talking about classic influences, then you should check “I’m Alive” with the strong SAXON vibe (note Lips whistling in a Biff Byford way) and the underlying Ted Nugent ala “Cat Scratch Fever” rhythm guitar reference. Above all, stand the lyrics that could be considered as the ANVIL hymn putting on the spotlight the band’s endurance and the rather extinct never-give-up attitude. Aside from the usual fast songs, ANVIL do equally great to the mid-tempo ones; yeah, the eco-conscious “Plastic Paradise” sounds frickin’ awesome with the icing on the cake being the cow-bell action and the rocking out guitar solo. An immediate headbanging-friendly song is the in-your-face “Food For The Vulture” that is a strong candidate for live shows and the rhythm solid “No Time” that for whatever the reason in marked as ‘bonus’.

The production and mix have managed to capture ANVI’s unique onstage energy that they have been proving with constant touring all over the globe. You can hear Lips’ fingers sliding on the guitar strings and you will enjoy Robb’s drumming hitting your chest as if you were standing on the first rows (something I strongly advise to do so in any given chance). ANVIL being legal at last leaves you no excuse for not – at least – checking this album that has officially gotten me back on track with this (still) crazy Canadians.

PS: You will love the BLACK SABBATH-inspired “When All's Been Said And Done”.

9/10


Links:

my.tbaytel.net/tgallo/Anvil
www.FaceBook.Com/AnvilMetal
www.Twitter.Com/AnvilMetal666


Tracklist:

01. Legal At Last
02. Nabbed In Nebraska
03. Chemtrails
04. Gasoline
05. I'm Alive
06. Taking To The Wall
07. Glass House
08. Plastic In Paradise
09. Bottom Line
10. Food For The Vulture
11. When All's Been Said And Done
12. No Time


Lineup:

Robb Reiner - Drums
Steve 'Lips' Kudlow - Guitar, Vocals
Chris Robertson - Bass