Record Reviews

Album review: Anvil “Impact is Imminent”

Canadian metal force Anvil shows us how it’s done on the band’s 19th album.

Not much has changed in the world of Canadian heavy metal band Anvil. And that’s a good thing! Anvil’s take on heavy metal is straightforward metal music, performed as a trio with guitar, bass and drums. Their songs often have tongue-in-cheek lyrics but there’s also some social commentary. They do what they do. Anvil is Anvil, love it or hate it. I love it. They are not changing their formula. That is how they have built a now four-and-a-half-decade long career. The band formed in Toronto, Canada in the 1970s and they debuted with the album “Hard ’n’ Heavy” in 1981. Founding members Steve “Lips” Kudlow (lead vocals and guitar) and Robb Reiner (drums) are always there and they sound better than ever on this album. The bass player position belongs to Chris Robertson since 2014. On “Impact is Imminent”, the band’s 19th studio album, we get served no fewer than 14 songs. What it is different this time is that the band due to the pandemic which stopped all usual touring could take their time to write and record the album. The pandemic also made its mark on the album in the aptly named track “Lockdown” (with excellent, to-the-point lines such as “Trapped in quarantine/by Covid-19/Stop this calamity!”). On the surface, Anvil’s music is meat-and-potatoes metal. But on this album, perhaps more so than on other recent albums, there are nuances, layers and cool details here and there that enhance the quality of the music. For example, Chris’ bass playing is on a new level for the band and his background vocals add texture to some fantastic songs. It goes without saying that Robb’s drumming and Lips’ vocals and guitar riffs are still the driving force behind Anvil’s music. Perhaps the dynamic addition in recent years of Chris to the Anvil mix has caused the two co-founders to up their game. Immediate favourite songs on the album include the very fast and excellent “Ghost Shadow” as well as tracks such as “Someone to Hate”, “Bad Side of Town”, “Fire Rain”, “Explosive Energy”, “The Rabbit Hole” and “Shockwave”. “Teabag” is an instrumental little rock jam. The album is rounded off by another instrumental piece called “Gomez” which musically is a complete surprise with the appearance of a brass section jamming along with the band in a fun rocker of a song.

Anvil’s new album “Impact is Imminent” will be released on 20th May via AFM Records.