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ANVIL – One And Only

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Anvil, aren’t they that band that none knew about or cared about, so someone made a documentary about them and now everyone knows about them but still don’t really appear to care? I for one never saw the documentary, because I never really cared, but I do know who they are. Well, I know about as much as I’ve already said, so I’ll need to google them.

Wikipedia tells me they have released 19 albums since 1981 and have apparently inspired the likes of trash metals Big Four, as well as many others. Nonetheless, they fell into obscurity during the 90’s and 00’s. See, now I know a little bit more thanks to doing my own research and I can get on with reviewing album number 20 still really having no idea what I’m about to get myself into.

The album opens with the title track One and Only which sounds a bit like an AC/DC style song with a slightly trashy edge. A slow thrash edge, if that makes any sense. It’s very 4/4 straight up rock/metal. The vocals are nothing like what I expected with an almost spoken word type sound to them. As the song reaches its bridge the drums liven up a bit and the guitars enter for a bit of solo action while the bass also seems to somewhat solo behind. I’m not sure what I expected with this but hey, hey, hey!

Feed Your Fantasy is up next, and it starts with that very vocal line wailing over the top of another 4/4 rock tune. The guitars seem to have some kind of weird phaser effect over them which is a personal dislike of mine. If I wanted to listen to a jet engine I’d got hang out by the airport. In between the songs names being repeated every 10 seconds the song just keeps bouncing along doing its thing.

This next one is not a Beastie Boys song, but it is called Fight For Your Rights. It’s a bit more fast paced than its predecessors as the band takes on more of an early thrash sound. The constant double kicks rumble as the guitars solo and harmonise freely. There’s even a bit of whammy action in there including the odd dive bomb. Best one so far!

With a name like Heartbroken I was almost expecting a ballad. It ain’t, but it’s fucking slow and slightly doomy. Like most “Thrash”, the vocals just don’t grab me though. Love is going down in this one.

The hunt for precious metal continues with Gold and Diamonds, but will the hunt be successful. Well, it another more upbeat one with solid chugging little riffing laying down the base of the song. I actually quite dig this when the riffs are ringing through. If this is the most precious stone amongst the rubble I don’t hold much hope for the rest of the album though.

The pace keeps up though as Dead Mans Shoes trashes along with an almost pirate metaledge to it. I’m not sure if that is intentional with the track title or whether it’s just how it’s turned out. Interesting track.

Next up is Truth is Dying and I’m starting tohear a very clear formula with the songs. So, to avoid repeating myself over the last 5 tracks, I’ll just quickly jump through them and wrap this up.

Rocking The World has a nice thumping groove to it while Run Away plays out like more of a fast-paced hair metal song. World of Fools again jumps into more of a thumping groove sound and is probably the most modern sounding track until the vocals kick in. The intro to  Condemned Liberty sounds like something you would hear on a Slayer album, but with arguably better vocals once the song gets underway.

Last up is Blind Rage and lit the two previous tracks it takes on more of a modern sound. Probably the heaviest track so far with some interesting guitar work in the intro. The double kicks are relentless and the guitars just alternate pick their way along with it. And in strange turn of events, it turns out that the last 3 tracks I was going to sample have turned out to be my favourites.

I’d actually love to hear how some of these songs would sound with a little more modern guitars tones, overall production and an updated vocal performance. I can see where this would have had its place back in the band’s early beginnings, but it doesn’t strike a chord with me in 2024, as I feel it wouldn’t with any new listeners.

I have no idea what the band used to sound like, but it doesn’t sound like they’ve evolved too much from an early 80’s sound.  You can be the judge of that though because it is worth a listen, albeit a short one. I’d start with the last 3 tracks and go from there.

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