Anvil – “Still Going Strong / Back To Basics / This Is Thirteen”

Anvil – “Still Going Strong / Back To Basics / This Is Thirteen” REISSUES (SPV / Steamhammer)

The last of Anvil’s back catalog re-issues, these 3 albums serve to acquaint anyone with the band’s recent history – not that there’s too much change! You haveta respect Reiner and Kudlow for timelessly dishing out the same brand of power infused heavy metal that was fresh and invigorating back in the early 80s, but today is very much the domain of the classic connoisseur. I actually bought “Still Going Strong” back in 2002 and can attest it’s pretty good – possibly the best of all three albums – with power slabs like ‘Race Against Time’, the furious ‘Sativa’ and the classic ‘White Rhino’ showcasing Robb’s still world ranking technical drumming! Those still unfamiliar with Anvil’s sound will find it rooted in 70s hard rock like Cactus as well as the more established legends like Sabbath, such that the band’s undeniable power effectively mixes funky grooves, jazz tinges and wild guitar work. “Back To Basics” is less convincing to me, with only ‘Chainsaw’ making a real impression and the rest of the album being too repetitive with Lips seemingly going off on one of his benders. Which brings us to the ‘comeback’ album that was the feature of Sacha Gervasi’s rockumentary movie on the band. Opening with the title track, ‘This Is Thirteen’ sounds like a rehash of 83’s ‘Forged In Fire’ and the repetitive trend continues with ironically the more punkier tracks like ‘Flying Blind’ and ‘American Refugee’ making a more contemporary impression. Even with Chris ‘CT’ Tsangarides’s knob twiddling karma the classics are missing although there is a hint of that old glory in ‘Thumb Hang’, actually the first song that Reiner and Kudlow wrote but ironically never making it onto vinyl until now lol – ladies & gentlemen, I give you rock’s latest dinosaur legends!

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