ANVIL - Pounding The Pavement
January 23, 2018, a year ago
No one will ever confuse the long running Canucks with a virtuoso like Dream Theater, neither in terms of technicality nor lyrical content. That said, this is the best Anvil platter since the backward glancing, post-documentary Juggernaut Of Justice. While not full-on speed throughout, there's enough guitar to placate long suffering old-school fans. Kicking off with a mid-tempo stomp that rants against the ubiquitous GPS on our dashboards (“Bitch In The Box”), there's a few noticeable improvements, right away. First is the presence of backing vocals and then, rather than just maintain the pace throughout, Lips cuts loose with a spirited (aka blazing) solo, midway through. His pervasive sense of humor and rhyming lyrics are on display throughout eleven inclusions, although a pair of bonuses are available: “Don't Tell Me” on the SPV version and “Spark It Up” an exclusive to Pledge funded donors.
Fleet fingered “Ego” would seem directed at insecure corporate (label?) types. It has the intensity and chops to crack the decades' old live running order, slotting nicely alongside “Mothra”. The staccato, autobiographical “(I'm Just) Doing What I Want”, with slightly modulated backing vox and electronic effects, sees Lips declaring he won't change and is enjoying his ride, “Until I'm gone”. Can envision onstage boots marching to the beat of “Smash Your Face”, a paean to listeners of heavy music. The title track is an instrumental, whereas “Rock That Shit” is a reworked ‘50s original rock ‘n’ roll rhythm, even quoting “Let's go to the hop”. Devoid of any Frozen connection, “Let It Go” is simple, but with riffs aplenty, destined for a live audience, especially where knowledge of English is limited. The plodding “Nanook Of The North”, apart from being a protest song, dealing with the mistreatment of the indigenous peoples, in the quest for oil, contributes nothing. “Black Smoke” is another aggro number, while a slower “World Of Tomorrow” purposefully mimics a bludgeoning Black Sabbath tone, Lips actually singing (rather than his usual sped-up spoken delivery). Disc closer “Warming Up” is a spirited variation on the aforementioned 2011 Justice's “Swing Thing”. Lip goes off on bluesy fretboard runs during “Don't Tell Me”. Ode to Canada's third favorite national pastime, after hockey & beer, “Spark It Up” (almost the entirety of the lyrics for 3:13!) is features the fastest guitar. Shame it's not on the “real” album. No bawdy juvenile sexuality on display, anywhere. Welcome to 2018.