ANVIL returns to pound your face with their signature brand of metal on new album Pounding the Pavement (January 19, Steamhammer/SPV). The Toronto-based band has been rocking the metal airwaves since 1978. Lead man Steve “Lips” Kudlow has pounded the world with bandmate Robb Reiner from the beginning and several years ago bassist Chris Robertson blended in. Immediately after the release of their last full-length Anvil is Anvil, the band started writing. I’ve been a fan since about 1982 and while the sound has never wavered that much, with the introduction of Robertson on bass, I noticed a distinct difference for the better.
If you can imagine, an exclusive trio such as ANVIL has not run out of ideas as we begin the assault with “Bitch In the Box”. It’s no surprise that this “woman” gets me lost on occasions or has me taking the scenic route. “Ego” was already released as a video in November 2017 and gave us a taste of this fast paced “middle finger to the man” message we’ve come to love from these guys. If you know ANVIL, “Doing What I Want” brings that long tried determination to let you know they ain’t gonna change their style for anyone. I’m down with that.
“Smash Your Face” is about rainbows and unicorns. If you believe that, please remove yourself to the backstreet with that band from the 80’s. Kudlow shocks us as usual and develops another killer solo with (I think) his signature Ocktober axe. I love the sound of this guitar, especially live. Following is the title track “Pounding the Pavement”, an instrumental reminiscent of “March of the Crabs”. If you have been to an ANVIL show, Kudlow comes into the audience and starts the gig in the audience playing “Crabs” in the middle of the crowd. It’s great fun to experience and to see the smile on his face while performing this opening, is just a trip.
Leaving you no time to catch your breath, “Rock That Shit” in well familiar metal fashion, forces another knockout down your throat. It’s now time to relax and enjoy a nice warm relaxing bath…..of “Let it Go”, to get mellow and meditate. Not a chance! It’s not about surrender that’s for damn sure. Maybe “let loose and look the fuck out” would be a better description. Story song “Nanook of the North” was inspired by a 1920’s film of the Canadian Inuit and also makes a stab at big oil companies invading their land. Not unlike the Osage Indian of Oklahoma who were given the royal shaft by the U.S. government, also in the 1920’s.
“Black Smoke” immediately has that familiar pulsating ANVIL sound from across the spectrum of albums. “World of Tomorrow” has that familiar “Thumb Hang” feel and “Warming Up” took me back to “Swing Thing” with that jazzy/rock feel. All terrific efforts. Bonus track “Don’t Tell Me” once again brings that middle finger to individuals who desire to tell us what they want us to hear. I have a feeling there is no love lost here for the “talking heads”. I feel the same quite honestly.
Pounding the Pavement was recorded in Rhauderfehn, Germany. Starting in January 2018, ANVIL will be on an extensive European tour beginning in the Netherlands and ending in Siegberg, Germany on April 6, 2018. I am really astounded that this album has so many great tunes so soon after the previous one especially. It tells me they have plenty of ideas remaining and their tank is nowhere near empty. An excellent effort. Salude’.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
-MARK “\M/ETAL \M/ESSIAH” EHRLICH