Picture of Anvil

Metal On Metal

Anvil - Metal on Metal ©1982 Attic
1. Metal On Metal
2. Mothra
3. Stop Me
4. March Of The Crabs
5. Jackhammer
6. Heat Sink
7. Tag Team
8. Scenery
9. Tease Me, Please Me
10. 666

Recently, the obscure Canadian band Anvil was subject of a documentary regarding their current activities. The mere fact that Anvil was chosen as a band deserving of a film depicting any of their endeavors was head scratching, to say the least. Although Anvil had a moment in the spotlight in the early 80s, they truly have become a very irrelevant act who still slugs it out despite very little interest in their wares. The film actually turned out to be interesting, as it captures the struggles of a band that well beyond their prime but unable to come to grips with the fact that very few people actually care about their band anymore. The two stalwarts of the band, singer/guitarist Steve "Lips" Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner, spend much of the film bemoaning the fact that major labels are uninterested in Anvil in 2006 and often place the blame on everyone but themselves for their failure to ever really break it big. Comparisons to Spinal Tap have been made, though at no point does Robb Reiner meet a dire fate in the movie.

Undoubtedly the film has rekindled curiosity in this Toronto act, particularly their supposedly classic album Metal on Metal. The title track was played incessantly throughout the film so this album is as good as any place to start with Anvil. And, by the end of the first two or three songs, it's as good of a place to end as well. Although aspects of Metal on Metal might have influenced a few more notable musicians, this record is painfully dated and chock full of just about every single comic book metal cliché in the book. It dwells between the burgeoning thrash metal scene (Robb Reiner should be given credit for his above average skills behind the drum kit), traditional metal and very unfortunate cock rock tendencies. The title track is a plodding, unbearable anthem about heavy metal and is difficult to stomach at this late date. Anvil's songwriting is very limited as well as Kudlow's singing.

There's absolutely nothing about Metal on Metal that bears a repeat listen. It might have been moderately interesting back in 1982, but you also had amazing records by Iron Maiden and Judas Priest redefining the metal genre. Unlike records by those scene giants, Metal on Metal aged about as gracefully as a prom queen who discovers that the world doesn't bow at her feet upon graduating high school. There is a reason why this band failed to ever achieve anything beyond a footnote in the history of metal. Metal on Metal is painfully mediocre record that only displays the worst tendencies of early 80s heavy metal.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/2009

Back to top