The roots of Anvil began in 1972 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This is when Steve Kudlow and Robb Reiner began playing music together. But it wasn't until 1978 that the first lineup that was to become Anvil was formed: Steve "Lips" Kudlow (lead vocals, lead guitar), Robb Reiner (drums), Dave Allison (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Ian Dickson (bass).Together they were known as LIPS.
In 1981 they released an independent album called HARD 'N HEAVY. Shortly after they were signed by Attic Records, they changed their name to ANVIL and the independent album was released by Attic as their debut album.
The Attic Years (1981-1984)
HARD 'N' HEAVY (1981)
This album doesn't really represent ANVIL too well. It's not too heavy but the songs are very catchy. "I Want You Both (With Me)" is one of their catchies songs. Had they released it now I would probably have given it a lower rating (maybe an 8), but it has grown on me since I first heard it in 1983.
HIGHLIGHTS: "School Love", "I Want You Both (With Me)"
METAL ON METAL (1982)
This is first of the 2 albums ANVIL is most known for (the other being FORGED IN FIRE). It is the greatest album ever recorded by anybody. It has been my favourite album since 1983 and will probably always be my favourite. It includes ANVIL's most well known song, "Metal On Metal". A terrific metallic anthem, "Metal On Metal" is to ANVIL what "Rock And Roll All Night" is to KISS. This is ANVIL at their best.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Heat Sink", "Tease Me, Please Me", "666"
FORGED IN FIRE (1983)
ANVIL follows the greatest album ever recorded with the second greatest album ever recorded. The songs are not as fast this time (except for "Shadow Zone" and "Motormount"), but still heavy.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Shadow Zone", "Motormount"
Released by Attic after ANVIL had been dropped, this album contains 5 "best of" tracks from the previous 3 albums and 5 previously unreleased tracks. The unreleased tracks were songs recorded during the recording sessions from the previous albums. These songs are not fantastic (except for "Backwaxed). The album would have received a lower rating if it wasn't for the "best of" tracks and the fact that the previously unreleased tracks have grown on me over time.
The Metal Blade Years (1987-1989)
After a few years of being unsigned they are picked up by Metal Blade Records, an American record company.
STRENGTH OF STEEL (1987)
ANVIL returns with their first studio album since 1983. Unfortunately it is a relatively weak album. It lacks the energy of their previous efforts. Not as heavy as an ANVIL album should be.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Mad Dog", "Straight Between The Eyes"
POUND FOR POUND (1988)
ANVIL released this album, obviously trying to make up for STRENGTH OF STEEL. It is heavier but still lacks something. Nontheless, an impressive offering.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Blood On The Ice", "Toe Jam", "Safe Sex"
PAST AND PRESENT - LIVE IN CONCERT (1989)
ANVIL conclude their Metal Blade years with a live album. They obviously knew what people really wanted to hear, 5 of the 11 tracks are from METAL ON METAL. A very good (not great) live album. I would have liked to have heard Dave Allison sing one of his songs. The live versions of both "Jackhammer" and "Mothra" are better than the originals. It was their last album with Metal Blade and their last album with the original line-up. Dave Allison left shortly afterwards. He was the first original member to leave.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Motormount", "Jackhammer", "666", "Mothra"
The Maximum Years (1991)
They are next picked up by Maximum Records, an independent Canadian label that was formed by Helix's manager-at-the-time William Seip.
WORTH THE WEIGHT (1991)
And worth the wait it was. Dave was replaced by Sebastian Marino, an American from New York. He seemed to have breathed new life into the band. The lyrics are darker than anything else they have done. The songs are a heavy and aggressive. Unfortunately it never got the attention it deserved. It is the only album released by Maximum.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Infanticide", "Bush Pig", "Pow Wow"
The Hypnotic/Massacre Years (1996-present)
Once again they are signed. This time by Hypnotic Records in Canada and Massacre Records in Germany.
PLUGGED IN PERMANENT (1996)
ANVIL returned with their first album in over 4 years. In that time original bassist Ian Dickson left and was replaced by Mike Duncan. Sebastian also left and was replaced by Ivan Hurd. This album is quite good. Another great comeback. This album is the heaviest, most aggressive album ANVIL has recorded. This just goes to show that despite what METALLICA defenders might say, just because you get older does not mean you have to slow down. Mike Duncan left right after the album was recorded. He was replaced by Glenn Gyorffy (Glenn Five).HIGHLIGHTS: "Racial Hostility", "Doctor Kevorkian", "Five Knuckle Shuffle"
ABSOLUTELY NO ALTERNATIVE (1997)
I love the title. This one sounds alot like PLUGGED IN PERMANENT, just not quite as heavy. It's a good album but it didn't grab me as much as PLUGGED IN PERMANENT did. "Show Me Your Tits" is fantastic.....great guitar riff. ANVIL maintain their musical integrity with this offering but many of the songs are somewhat dull. Heavy metal is not dead.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Old School", "Show Me Your Tits"
SPEED OF SOUND (1998)
Once again this one is in the same vein as the previous 2 albums (PLUGGED IN PERMANENT and ABSOLUTELY NO ALTERNATIVE) but more diverse and better. There is some experimenting with the vocals in "Park That Truck" and with blast-beats in "No Evil". This one grew on me very quicky. There are some very catchy riffs here. "Park That Truck" is the best song they have recorded since anything from FORGED IN FIRE.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Speed Of Sound", "Secret Agent", "Park That Truck"
ANTHOLOGY OF ANVIL (1999)
A well chosen collection of songs spanning the band's career. Personally I would have left off "Smokin' Green", "Stolen" and "Paper General". Instead I would have included "Mad Dog", "Show Me Your Tits" and "Park That Truck". I suppose including "Stolen" will benefit those who did not get the Japanese release of PLUGGED IN PERMANENT. If you are new to ANVIL this would be an excellent place to start.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Speed Of Sound", "666", "Motormount", "Doctor Kevorkian"
PLENTY OF POWER (2001)
This album is reminiscent of SPEED OF SOUND just not quite as heavy but much groovier. "Plenty Of Power" and "Dirty Dorothy" are the 'grooviest' with these cool riffs that linger in your head after only one listen. "Real Metal", the heaviest track and sounding much like "Park That Truck", sums up the Anvil philosophy and utilizes the sound clip of a hammer striking an anvil at the end of the track. This same clip was first used at the beginning of "Metal On Metal" 19 years before. They've really decided to tap into Glenn's bass talents on this album. Listen to "Ball Of Fire", "The Creep" and "Pro Wrestling" for some cool bass lines. "Beat The Law" has some wicked drumming by the mighty Robb Reiner.
HIGHLIGHTS: "Plenty Of Power", "Real Metal", "Dirty Dorothy"
STILL GOING STRONG (2002)
Anvil continues where PLENTY OF POWER left off with a groovy power metal album. There are no really heavy tracks on this one. If you loved "Plenty Of Power" and "Dirty Dorothy" then you will love this album. "Race Against Time" is the best track. "Holy Wood" has this funky beat unlike anything they have done before. "Still Going Strong" is extremely infectious with a super chorus. "Waiting" and "Defiant" are the heaviest tracks here. Other notables are the drum solo in "White Rhino" and the cool acoustic guitar intro to "What I'm About".
HIGHLIGHTS: "Race Against Time", "Still Going Strong", "Waiting"
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