The great thing about Anvil is that no matter what, they will keep on rockin’, keep on poundin’. Where some of their younger contemporaries have embarked on or completed farewell tours, insisting age has claimed another victim, Anvil will keep going.
For years now they have raised the bar for themselves with each new release. On their latest album, Juggernaut of Justice, they have raised that bar very high indeed; these are the best songs Anvil has ever written. After over 30 years together and in the form of their lives, they would be foolish to stop this juggernaut now.
Anvil previewed title and opening track “Juggernaut of Justice” on their Facebook page ahead of release. It’s a storming metal song with a typically catchy lead riff and unyielding rhythm that got me very excited and gave back-up to my argument that Lips is one of the most underrated lead guitarists in metal. The dildo-wielding, naked photo-posing Lips of old may not be around any more, but the most significant difference in him is that Lips is now an even better guitarist. His scintillating solos on the rampaging, Motorhead-esque “On Fire” will bring a smile (and an air guitar) out in all Anvil fans.
Drummer Robb Reiner is so fast at times that I wonder if he has entered into some unholy pact and acquired extra super-fast limbs. If he was not so accurate with every beat, “When All Hell Breaks Loose” could be the sound of Reiner violently destroying his drum kit such is his speed. Reiner is famously a big fan of jazz drummer Buddy Rich and “Swing Thing” is Reiner’s tribute to him that he described as ‘metal jazz’. While that’s technically a good description of it, I think it’s better than that. It could have been an excuse for Reiner to show off and prove to us that he can play like his hero. But “Swing Thing” is brilliantly played and something so different to anything Anvil has done before that I’m glad they included it on the album.
Aided by working at Dave Grohl’s superior Studio 606, producer Bob Marlette, who has previously worked with such metal gods as Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath, has done a fantastic job with Juggernaut of Justice. Possibly his greatest achievement with this album is the fact that I hardly noticed him at all; the whole album sounds like a seamless performance.
What is very easy for producers, and to a certain extent the band, is to make this the Lips And Robbo Show. But the awesome Glenn ‘G5’ Gyorffy has been in the band for fifteen years and shows he is worthy of playing alongside his very talented bandmates. Especially with his sinister bassline on “New Orleans Voodoo” and his pneumatic drill-speed playing on “Running.”
Back in the ’80s at the time of Anvil’s heyday, their early albums provided classic metal tunes that inspired some of today’s biggest metal bands. The tracks on Juggernaut of Justice stand up to the likes of “666” and “Metal On Metal” and in the guaranteed crowd pleasers “Fukeneh!” and “Turn It Up,” with their big, fist-pumping chorus chants, they have two new tracks that will be a certain hit with live audiences on their travels this summer. Roll on album fifteen.