KERRANG Issue 2 August 1981
Armed and Ready:
KERRANG! issue 10 MARCH 1982
ANVIL – ‘Hard ‘n’ Heavy’ – Attic Import – Toots Daley
“THIS LP contains 40 minutes of sheer power. Keep it wet and play it loud.”
Recorded in 1980 this album features 10 fast and furious cuts all of which show the group have the depth and originality to make the grade outside their own country.
The line-up features Dave Allinson (rhythm guitar/vocals), Rob Reiner (drums), Ian Dickson (bass) and the unlikely-named Lips (lead guitar/lead vocals). ‘School Love’ kicks the album off, with more than a hint of ‘Ballroom Blitz’.
“Out in the school yard, little peaches play. Rubbing their beavers they’ve got a lot to say.”
Powered by searing guitar work and brain-damaging drums, the subject of women, in various positions, is a recurring theme.
“Tie me down you mean old bag. Wrench the ropes down, leave no sag.” (‘Bondage’)
Lyrics like these are hardly likely to endear this bunch to the Spare Rib readers but they’re sung with a suggestive humour reminiscent of Van Halen. In fact, the whole band come over as Canada’s answer to the LA lunatics, which can’t be a bad thing. Their main strength lies in the guitar/vocal prowess of Lips who comes on like a young Steven Tyler crossed with a butch Rob Halford, and the only let down of the whole album is a naff rendition of the Stones overplayed ‘Paint It Black’. No one does it better than Los Bravos. Apart from that it’s five-star material. Let’s hope it comes out here at a respectable price and that the band themselves don’t leave it too long before touring.
FEATURE SEPTEMBER 1982
Anvil’s wild reputation is spreading faster than a rash on a tramps festering carcass. Their womanising out rods The Rods, their nasty habits out gross the Halfin and their music, most important of all,, is the loudest, fastest most fearsome dose of HM to tread the hallowed boards of Mettalica since early Aerosmith and Nugent.
A recent gig at London’s Marquee, two hours of sweat- bucket 100 mph rock ‘n’ roll, left both group and audience staggering around in a happy! hypnotic daze looking like a bunch of leather-clad extras auditioning for a part in some new George Romero Zombie film. Like helpless victims suffering some form of musical shellshock no one seemed to know what had hit them.
Tonight was Anvil’s last in Britain, a happy culmination to a somewhat depressingly frustrating and almost totally unsuccessful trip. In fact, until this particular evening things had not gone too smoothly and, considering that the group had put every cent of profit from their last album into this excursion, it wasn’t proving to be a worthwhile investment.
Initially it was intended that the group fly over from their Toronto homeland, kick off the proceedings at Donington and then do a full-face blitz on our fair land via a support stint with Def Leppard.
Unfortunately, however, their assault on the Castle came over as a bit of a damp squib. But if this wasn’t enough, the already ill-fated Leppards had to cancel out their tour due to excessive fart-arsing about in the studios, leaving Anvil crestfallen and desperately in need of last minute gigs.
One can safely say that if it wasn’t for two morale-boosting London shows there would have been a torturous set of morose, hang-dog expressions on the faces of these merchants of Maple Leaf Mayhem.
“When I came off stage, I almost felt like crying,” admits Lips, a very soft spoken almost shy opposite to his bulbous-eyed, manic on stage persona.
“I’m really upset because I don’t feel like I’ve been here long enough, I haven’t absorbed all there is to absorb. This society and this culture is just incredible beyond description. People here are so willing to except me as an equal, as a friend.”
A STRANGE statement you may be thinking, but the fact is that over
in Canada HM fans are regarded as social outcasts and what we consider a fairly innocuous uniform, i.e. denim and leather, attracts the mounties like flies to shit – well you get the picture.
“We’re still a separate entity in Canada, I don’t know how we’ve existed. If you play in a bar you get to be a bar band, and we’ve been kicking that system for five years. I mean kicking it, man. I feel like I’m running up a down escalator in Canada, but over here I feel like I’ve got jets on my shoes.
“The last two nights have changed my total view on the scene over here. Actually, I wasn’t too depressed with Donington, though when I go back home I’m gonna have a lot of explaining to do. This trip cost us thirty thousand dollars, which means I’m not gonna see a cent from the ‘Metal On Metal’ album but if the review of Donington isn’t too damaging we’ll be back.”
On a less depressing note, Anvil may still return later this year and record their next album here, possibly at Pete Townshend’s Eel Pie Studios, as they feel they could benefit from the British culture.
“This is where heavy metal happens,” announces a determined Lips, “this is where it comes from. The audiences are indescribably – this is where the headbangers are. Everyone talks about headbangers back home, but they don’t know what a real headbanger is. There are some guys who call themselves headbangers if they wear a denim jacket, but here, man, it’s leather jackets, denims just covered in buttons and the way people
get into it. . . it isn’t just polite clapping, or one or two guys nodding their heads. It’s like fists in the air and metal on metal, the louder the better. It’s something I’ve only seen in pictures before!”
Dave Allison (rivvum/vocals), Rob Reiner (drums/percussion), Dix Dickson (bass) and, of course, the outrageous Lips make up Anvil. When you consider that Lips was Lemmy’s first choice when ‘Fast’ Eddie departed you’ll get an idea how tough these cookies can be.
“I don’t give a f–k about money, that’s not my trip. I just want to create the finest metal that has ever existed. I don’t wanna be better than Motorhead or Iron Maiden, I just wanna be Anvil and write the heaviest songs there’s ever been. . . that’s all.’
KERRANG! ISSUE No.44 JUNE 1984
ANVIL – “Forged In Fire” (Attic LAT 1170) – Malcolm Dome
SO, after all the rhetoric, here comes the vinyl truth. Anvil’s third album ‘—forged in fire or hewn from ashes? Well, to tell the truth, having played this opus through on a couple of occasions, I was coming round to the viewpoint that whilst this was certainly better on wax than it had been on that fabled early cassette copy, nonetheless it was merely a solid LP rather than a
There can be no doubting that the lunatics have traded in their chainsaws for the cudgels of Manowar-style barbarians, even if much of their lyrical content still reeks of sweaty bed-room indulgences (ahem!). The music is considerably more measured, with an altogether greater emphasis being placed on developing a steady power. And when this album gets into top-gear, it really uncorks the hot lava. ‘Future Wars’, ‘Butter Bust Jerky’, and ‘Winged Assassin’ are amongst the finest moments yet from this Toronto tornado. But. . . equally, when ‘FIF’ sucks, it sucks an almighty big one. ‘I’ll Make It All Up To You’ (despite its rollicking intro) is a near-twee love song whilst the title track itself (as you’ve doubtless heard on last issue’s free flexi) is a ponderous, Neanderthal piece of drab-arama, all belch and little roar.
Somehow this dichotomy between kranked-up volcanic eruptions and flickering embers seemed thoroughly mystifying, How could a band THIS GOOD ride the entire gamut from zenith to nadir in the course of less than 40 minutes? And on the third spin, the reality dawned on me. This is a tremendous album that has been atrociously handled, productionwise. You see, that well-known Greek shipping ‘magnet’ Chris Tsangarides has shown himself to be fine when the needle is in the gross-out groove. But give him a slightly more thoughtful or demanding job to do, such as – pushing up the dementia quotient when he’s not got the back-up of blurring bludgeon behind him, and he goes to pieces. Thus, as soon as the pace here drops, so too does the standard of the song in question.
It’s all there, of course, lurking deep down in the mix and waiting to strike. It needs someone with a little more idea of what is called for, to take charge of the master-tapes and spend a couple of intensive days merely re-vamping the sound on tracks like ill Make It Up. ‘Forged In Fire’, and ‘Never Deceive Me’ into a more acceptable form.
Happily, this now looks like happening! The US release of ’FIF’ will apparently boast a spanking new mix, with possibly the replacement of the weaker cuts here in by material from the previously unreleased (Stateside, that is) ‘Metal On Metal’. Now, that sounds like it will be a rousing jouster. However, as things stand, unless you’ve expensive facilities to drastically alter the quality of certain songs, ‘Forged In Fire remains an ante-post favourite in the ‘Decibel Derby’ who hasn’t performed to expectation.