By Allyson Kingsley
Once again, Canadian metal band Anvil delivers another fantastic album Legal At Last and certainly from the cover art and title track, you know what they are celebrating. Anvil is probably the most humble band I have ever had the pleasure to meet as well as interview. These guys are my childhood heroes and, once upon a time, the underdogs in the heavy metal world. Today, they are legends, albeit for me to say they are masters. With the ever-familiar vocals of Steve “Lips” Kudlow and his expertise at classic metal riffing to the rhythmic duo of bassist Chris Robertson and maestro drummer Rob Reiner, Anvil are monstrous metal demons. They don’t bother with frills and fancy shit, nor do they label themselves to any particular subgenre (trust me there are fucking dozens), they rock you up one side and down the other. And do yourselves a favor and catch them performing live as they are beautifully interactive with their fans and give every show 100 percent on to their latest album.
We start with “Legal At Last,” celebrating marijuana’s legality in our northern neighbors, and there is a catchy punk rock vibe that I’m loving. The punk sound continues in “Nabbed in Nebraska,” and I think our Anvil friends may have had a run-in with the PD in this godforsaken boring state (no offense Nebraska). Definitely some tongue-in-cheek humor in this song. The next track “Chemtrails” talks of authentic evil that we hardly pay much attention to, that being air pollution and here we have people dying left and right from lung cancer in their 50s, and they never smoked. As poisonous as the lyrics are, Lips gives us some potent badass riffs throughout this track.
Moving on to “Gasoline,” I hear a different vibe, and may I say some Slayer-Esque riffs. It’s definitely darker as it should be as we seem to fight endless wars about this liquid gold. Anvil proves we can sing about societal issues and still Rock. This leads to “I’m Alive,” a fun track in a classic 80s style that celebrates Rock n roll and living it up in the moment. So far, it’s my favorite song on the album as it celebrates the hedonism of rock/metal.
“Talking to the Wall” is a definite dig at the foolhardy ways of our world leaders who seriously don’t give a shit about us anyways. Again Lips demonstrates his flair with the fretboard throughout this song. Steve’s vocals go a little deeper, and I dare say showing some down and dirty grittiness with “Glass House” as he behooves our ever-growing lack of privacy with damn cameras all about us.
If you like a little Sabbath flavor, check out “Plastic In Paradise” with its slightly down-tuned riffs hinting at the evils of our plastic society. Speed/thrash metal rears its beautiful head in “Bottom Line” and having an affinity for drumming; this is where I hear Rob Reiner smoke his set. Again, you have to see him live as his drum solos take your breath away…phenomenal. They continue the speed and anger with “Food For the Vulture,” and it reminds me of early Alice Cooper material for whatever reason. “Said and Done” seals the album in stone-cold steel, again with a nod towards the darker side. We end the album with a bonus track “No Time,” which perfectly ties into the start of the album with its heavy punk sentiment.
Anvil again impresses with their continued dedication to keeping old school metal alive and infusing it with surprises embedded within. As veterans of heavy metal, they deserve the utmost respect and adoration.