September 17, 2009

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Anvil, This is Thirteen
VH1 Classics Records, Sept. 15

A critically acclaimed rockumentary was recently released covering Anvil’s story, which appears to read like Spinal Tap but for real and even worse, chronicling their sort-of-rise as a formless but enthusiastic ’70s-metal mini-juggernaut to their fall into two-people-at-the-concert hell. Lots of similar bands gladly threw in the towel in the face of Poison’s lipstick and Slayer’s retro-punk spikes, but these guys never gave up, even when it was wayyyy past time for a little Walking Tall-style payback after suffering humiliations that make Passion of the Christ look like your average episode of Will & Grace. Cut to now, if you insist, where all manner of Lemmys, Ulrichs and Slashes have just been captured on film professing their long-time love for this Canadian trio, and their 2007 album (previously available only through their dotcom) has finally been released for real. In the press quotes for this album, bless their muttonhead hearts, the guys see AOR gold everywhere on this disc, oblivious to the fact that although the opener title-track kicks demon-ass in the vein of Sabbath’s Heaven & Hell a little, the song’s followup has pretty much the same chords. They karaoke Judas Priest in “Ready to Fight,” Whitesnake in “Burning Bridges” and Motorhead in “Should A Would A Could A,” ever hacking valiantly away at windmills, and suddenly you realize that if Toronto had been Seattle in 1983, Anvil would be Metallica. B-Eric W. Saeger