Anvil – “Legal At Last” (AFM Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Now smelted into heavy metal history thanks to their rock-cumentary, Anvil return with their 18th album whose cover would do Spın̈al Tap proud. However, if thoughts of another Sacha Gervasi installment start to unfold, the Anvil bong is in celebration of Canada’s changed weed laws, along with the album’s title that makes it clear that the band, underdogs if there were any, are ok to be liked. Well, for those of us who’ve liked them since their debut “Hard N Heavy”, the 12 tracks on “Legal At Last” return Anvil to those early days of hard rock – and roll. Thanks to the sterling sound of Martin ‘Mattes’ Pfeiffer (UDO etc) und Jörg Uken, the power has returned to the band – nowadays a trio – and is awash in the thick, resonating sound of Lips’s axe and the always to be awed drum work of Robb Reiner in a very natural late 70s sound, while commendably allowing Anvil to still live up to its heavyweight name. As the deep riffs and crashing drum work smash ‘Glass House’ which is the sorta demolition Anvil fans are used to, it’s actually the powerful yet moving chorus and even more moving rock n roll solo that really make the song a fired up inspiration and as such memorable to the mind. Side swiping me however, is the doom metal of ‘Plastic In Paradise’ – no doubt inspired by new found liberal use of the Anvil bong – although the poignant environmental theme is not lost thanks to the heavy, reverberating Sabbathy riff contrasted by slightly mellower grooves, trippy harmonies, wailing hard rock guitar solo and cowbell. Hitting the rock n roll gas pedal on the chugging ‘Bottom Line’ it’s classic Anvil all the way from the catchy rolling riffs and Lips’s unmistakable voice, but again all leading up to a catchy main chorus and an amazing double bass propelled blast beat driving an equally wild wailing guitar solo that really proves that the veteran trio (completed by former band bass roadie Chris Robertson) are still as energetic as they are innovative. Fed by Reiner’s double bass hammerings, ‘Food For The Vulture’ is an all out metaller complete with lyrics like ‘..death is the deal, tuck into a meal..’ and some serious fret board burning from Lips both in the heavy riffing dept and fast, screaming solos. No doubt, Anvil really smoke it on this one.