Label: Hypnotic Records - HYPMD 1053 • Format: CD Album, Reissue, Remastered • Country: Canada • Genre: Rock • Style: Heavy Metal
Best viewed without Internet Explorer, in x resolution or higher. Strength of Steel might have churned Anvil to a halt as far as the band's linear progression in the 80s, but that doesn't mean that their later efforts were entirely void of individual distinctions.
Take its successor, Pound for Pound for example, which draws upon all the ire and wrath that the Canadians previously hinted towards, and then dials it all up to This is easily my favorite of their catalog to its day. To this day. A darker, volatile and dynamic effort which does not ignore the proto-thrash leanings the band exhibited through the early 80s output, and riff for riff their strongest in terms of branding itself to the memory.
What bluesy hard rock influence remains here is delegated to a pair of brooding, doom laden crushers, and even the frivolous and silly sex songs are delivered with speed, passion and menace.
It helps that Pound for Pound also features my favorite Anvil track, and perhaps the greatest tribute to the sport of hockey in all of metal music. You'll note that Lips' vocals are honed in on a lower, grimier range which is the case for almost every song on the album, and I rather like the tactic as it helped gradate the band towards the more hostile climate of aggression that was popular in this period, without abandoning the manly, muscular heavy metal roots akin to Manowar.
But the composition itself was just brutal for this band, every guitar lick incredibly well incorporated into this structure of blades, sticks and fisticuffs. I hail from the admittedly hockey saturated New England populace, and just seconds of this track is all it takes me to wax nostalgically for the bleacher-based vertical mosh pits complete with crowd surfing that the restless jocks at my high school used to conduct much to the dismay of See The Mistress Strip - Moonpedro & The Sinking Ship - Homegrown rest of the town But then, just about every song on this album with the exception of the useless 14 second Play Me - Neil Diamond - Hot August Night snippet "Cramps" is worthwhile.
Frenzied, memorable speed metal surges with Lips' tense screaming like "Brain Burn" and it's simply but gluey chorus, or "Machine Gun" which is one of the heaviest beatings this lot has ever meted out.
It wouldn't be an Anvil record without a few smut anthems, and the orgiastic square dance of "Toe Jam" and condom praising "Safe Sex" fill My Only Foe - Three Fish - The Quiet Table soggy purse here; yet both are fast, driving, and loaded with a fuck ton of riffs and lovable, noodling excess that make them seem almost too serious for their lyrics.
Another personal favorite here, second only to "Blood Get Down - Gilbert OSullivan - Get Down the Ice" would be "Fire in the Night" a slower paced cut which I'd gladly place on the level of past transgressions like "Metal on Metal" and "Forged in Fire", though this is busier and far more pissed off, Lips often sounding like the great Savatage frontman Jon Oliva at his most furious.
And even here, Robb Reiner is bludgeoning along with enough force that he could likely cave in a human skull with a snare roll. No wonder the guy was probably sought out by a number of higher profile acts at the time, a real human steamroller who gives a lot more than any perceived, percussion indulgence might take away.
The leads should also get a mention: they're wild, dirty and not enormously catchy, but they add this sporadic layer to the pummeling rhythmic substrate which comes across like a molten steel bukkake jerking session. This was Dave Allison's last studio album with the band, and he makes it count as he and Kudlow exchange their shrill, shrieking fretted diatribes. I've heard some gripes about the production of Pound for Pound, and to be truthful I can hear how it might not be so smooth as Strength of Steel or Forged in Fire, yet I admire the tension it Toe Jam - Anvil - Pound For Pound , the pools of shadow Toe Jam - Anvil - Pound For Pound beneath the darker note progressions and the faltering, stormy heights of the higher pitched screams where they appear.
This is one hell of an Toe Jam - Anvil - Pound For Pound. Bad ass defined. If hadn't been so overly choked with higher visibility records the likes of But it's never too late, and if there's a single Anvil experience I could recommend over any other excluding the documentarythis would be the one.
While the production sounds pretty hefty with Reiner machine-like in a tribal, almost anthemic who, Anvil? The song has little chance as it wanders into my crosshairs. Lips is now bearded and admittedly looking coolstaring back heatedly like I just spit on his cat or something, but to me the only bullseye here is on the cover.
No more expectations. No more anticipation. What the fuhhh Somehow its hook-shaped chorus has snagged my bottom lip and is reeling me in like an expert bassman. Grumbling double bass ripples the water.
Verses overlap one another like the waves themselves, cresting foamy with backlit vocals. The rhythm seems to twist like a fish in the air. With a gleam in my once Toe Jam - Anvil - Pound For Pound eye I announce that much of this nine-tracker clangs noisily like the Anvil of old, the part-time aggressors, part-time goofballs who carved the underground metal map into my personal, Motley Crue-bound world.
With four minds and sixteen limbs vibrating simultaneously around the same overhauled engine, Pound for Pound calls Strength of Steel a granny car with an even grander voice. My buddies are back, for real this time, and it feels damn good. Despite this shockless revelation, squished even more to the front of the bus because the back is way cooler are the high school loser songs.
The mindset is still there, only now the legwarmers and charm bracelets are abandoned to history class. Strolling through the neighborhood we see Pound for Pound on a few acres of fertile property, Erosion - Rude Awakening - The Awakening from the mean streets below than Metal on Metalbut downwind from bludgeoningly-upscale Forged in Fire.
Kaupungin Äänet - Tina Pettersson - Tahdonvoimaa, La Comédie Italienne - Saties Fraktion - En Plus, Evangelist - Now there was a day set aside - Leroy J. Robertson* – Utah Symphony Orchestra, Maurice, Dig Deeper - D7 - Dimension 7, Ghosts Among Men - Blue Sky Black Death - Late Night Cinema