Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Label: AFM Records

Date: June 28th, 2024

If there’s one thing that I can and will never forgive bands, especially of Anvil’s stature and experience, it’s the absolute unimaginative approach towards images that adorn their covers. I will ignore the simple rhyming, cliché upon cliché being abused, predictable arrangements, reliance on the rock ‘n’ roll standards… Just about anything, but accepting a solution such as depicted on the outer cover of “One and Only” is not right. I mean, sure, these fellows have pretty much taken anvil to all sorts of absurdity in the past forty years and I can, sort of, agree that it’s a nice enough mascot for a heavy metal band, but here’s one that takes up a whole new level. I get the point, but there must’ve been a better way of expressing what the Canadians had in mind.

Thankfully, “One and Only” works best just behind the image in question. Even if all of the above is true – and it most certainly is – the album is a winner. Not so much to compete with the early classics of this heavy metal frontrunner, but still a damn good mimic. It’s teeming with fine riffing, firm rhythms and convincing voice, all of which keep the impact throughout the long career of Anvil. Seriously, those in love with this band will not find a single crack in this record. It even ends with the most powerful of tracks on it, “Blind Rage”, which pummels whatever is accidentally left untouched.

Personally, I would prefer more tracks such as that one. Like “Dead Man Shoes”. However, even without the immense help of double bass drum, Anvil is capable of delivering a traditional heavy metal tune of some substance. No one can deny that “One and Only” is particularly rich with catchy choruses. Going for audience-friendly potential live favorites goes hand in hand with guitars which don’t spare hard riffing, although often at the expense of any type of melody. Also, as I already somewhat noted, the album is diversified with a lot of standard rock ‘n’ roll hooks that are not necessarily mixed with the heavy metal basis of Anvil. As in “Rocking the World” or “Run Away”, which are more hard rocking songs, though underlined with enough heavy metal guitar work to fit into the remainder of the album. The Canadians don’t forget to pay tribute, so to speak, to the undead memory of Mr. Kilmister, by adapting to the punk rocking heavy metal in certain moments. Many songs contain at least a wink towards the legend of Motörhead. “Fight For Your Rights”, for example.

And yet, not everything is “sunshine and lollipops” on “One and Only”. Treading slowly along the heavy doom metal, “Heartbroken” delivers a headbanger, though a sullen one. While on a subject of downtempo songs, “Condemned Liberty” is a slow burner, though more on a resilient side, with hammering step of resistance towards living in a humanity under constant oppression. It is only fitting that the song itself is followed by “Blind Rage” destructiveness.

Though the two are diametrically opposite in their musical essence, they are building a perfect setting of a band aware of the ruin to which we have led the human community. But it doesn’t begin there, since this duo is closing the album. “One and Only” is filled with messages of disgust, aimed at greed, lies and selfishness that plagues the human kind. It spits more or less directly from “Fight For Your Rights”, “Gold and Diamonds”, “Truth is Dying”… The trio that embodies Anvil might be getting old, but there’s no question that they still feel the necessity to make the world a better place, at least by preaching about it. On a positive note, Canadians call on you to “Feed Your Fantasy” and try to live it up.

So, there you have it. The new Anvil album, as all of their fandom wanted it. The main feat of it would be that it is completely made up of old school rock ‘n’ roll and heavy metal tools. The trio is fully tied to the roots and you can easily hear that they are feeling at home with it. All the while enjoying it to the fullest. Hence, one of the strongest albums of twentieth century Anvil.


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