ALBUM REVIEW: Anvil - Impact is Imminent

7/10

Anvil - Impact is Imminent

The media coverage of Anvil over their forty-plus years in the music industry has been a poisoned chalice for the Canadian trio. On the one hand, they have been parodied as pioneers whose songs, including “Bedroom Game” and “Bondage”, have been documented as some of the earliest examples of speed and thrash metal.

Unfortunately for Anvil, they have also been mocked as being the real-life Spinal Tap, fantasists still trying to fulfil unobtainable adolescent dreams of being global superstars. Whilst Anvil’s critics have been vicious, often pointing out they are not on the same level as heavy metal bands like Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax and Metallica, others have noted Anvil’s influence on these international heavy weights. Anvil must be doing something right; they were “up to eleven” LPs twenty years ago. Impact is Imminent, their nineteenth album offers a motley of metal and heavy rock with harmonies.

The album opener casts the trio as elder statesmen with “Take A Lesson”, where they offer sound advice to listeners about being true to one’s self. It also has all the headbanging adrenaline rush excitement expected from an Anvil album opener. With superb guitar solos, “Take a Lesson” ticks all the boxes. The BPM continues to increase with “Ghost Shadow”.

The most powerful metal explosion is on “Someone to Hate”, where the key changes and guitar solos reach exceptionally high notes. “Someone to Hate” is also complemented by intelligent anthropological lyrics concerning people’s compulsion to hate. Likewise, “Bad Side of Town” explores how conflict is often unavoidable, and while “Lockdown” doesn’t have the finest lyrics, the metal backdrop provides the soundscape to express the frustration, fear and confusion people experienced during the COVID 19 lockdowns.

The seventies heavy rock influences are present throughout. “Another Gun Fight” has a chorus “always killing, blood is spilling…” that is engagingly reminiscent of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out”, where Cooper and the school choir sing, “No more pencils, no more books…”. The heavy rock influences are also found on “Wizard’s Wand”, where the band list all the good things they would do with the help of magic, including “complete racial equality” and turning “hatred into loving”. Rock turns political on “The Rabbit Hole”, where the media and politicians face a severe scolding for the repercussions their actions have. Despite being musically energetic, “The Rabbit Hole” is apocalyptic, where “escape down the rabbit hole” appears to be the only option. Perhaps this might explain the album cover of what appears to be an asteroid entering our planet.

Impact is Imminent also has two heavy rock instrumentals; “Teabag” and the final track, “Gomez”. “Gomez” in many ways feels like the second part to “Teabag”, which adds trumpets to the sonic mix. Not just any trumpets, trumpet arrangements one would expect from upbeat ska-bands. “Gomez’s” triumph is its ability to incorporate a new sound without compromising the integrity of Anvil as a heavy metal and rock band.

Impact is Imminent as a whole could have potentially reached even greater heights if more instruments, even subtly, were incorporated. Nonetheless, Impact is Imminent proves Anvil are not a novelty group who can be easily dismissed.

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