Now into their fifth decade as a band, Canada’s Anvil keep on trucking with their aptly-named seventeenth studio album, Pounding The Pavement. The power trio of Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow, Robb Reiner and Chris Robertson don’t know when to stop. Is that a good thing for fans?
On Pounding The Pavement, the answer is a tentative yes. Lips and pals drop 12 straight-up metal anthems on our doorstep, with mixed results. Anvil show no subtlety – or awareness of current events – by opening things with a song called “Bitch in the Box,” which despite its excellent music might make some of us cringe. However, Anvil have never been prone to correctness – you’ll love the mid-paced riff and churning rhythm, but maybe not the lyrics.
This is something that plagues the band’s release throughout – excellent music and top-notch production (the band went to Germany to make this record) marred by their usual goofy lyrics and subject matter. Other moments of silliness include songs entitled “Smash Your Face” and “Rock That Shit,” while “Doing What I Want” features a chorus of “I’m just doing what I want” no less than seven times in a row at one point. “Nanook Of The North,” about Inuit, is the cheesiest offering, with dubbed-in Inuit throat singing.
Setting aside the obviously juvenile lyrics, though, we are left with some incredibly strong songs. “Doing What I Want” actually features a killer riff, as do most of the other songs. The band sounds energized throughout, with Reiner and Robertson providing thunderous rhythm behind Kudlow’s excellent axework. The production is very aggressive as well, giving us an album that sounds great blasting out of the speakers.
We already know Anvil’s shtick, and they play to it perfectly here, right down to the Flying-V guitar/jackhammer cover art. These guys have never taken themselves too seriously, and while the lyrics on Pounding the Pavement might make us roll our eyes, there’s no denying the band have written some of their strongest material musically in recent years. If that’s your thing, this album will not disappoint.
(released January 19, 2018 on SPV/Steamhammer Records)
Heavy Music Headquarters Rating:
Listen To Anvil – “Ego”