There’s something satisfying and warming about sitting down to listen to a new Anvil album. You know it’s going to be a bit shit….but shit in a good way, a reliable way, a fun way and in a nostalgic way. These boys are a metal institution and we love ’em for keeping at it – no matter what the cost – and so we arrive, 42 years after they first formed, at Legal at Last (album number 18 for the uninitiated).
Don’t go expecting any progression and you’ll probably get an immediate kick out of the title track, which opens proceedings in typical Anvil fashion. Back-to-basics heavy fuckin’ metal with cheesy lyrics is the order of the day and Anvil, as always, are serving up quite the platter!
It’s not all heavy metal cliches though with “Chemtrails” rallying against the use of insecticides and airborne pollutants while offering plenty of pleasing chug with its ecological message; not that you come to Anvil for political diatribes and in-depth social commentary, of course! Surprisingly, Anvil continue down this path with the environmental rant of “Gasoline” advocating the use of renewable energy and showcases our intrepid heroes as courageous eco-warriors. They don’t stop there either, with “Plastic in Paradise” regailing us with, surprise, surprise, the reality of our littered oceans. If you weren’t aware of the damage we’re doing to planet Earth, you certainly do now, right!
Still, we’re hardly in concept album territory here and it’s soon back to shit-kicking 80’s metal with “I’m Alive” ripping off the central riff from Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever” but hey, it’s a great riff, so who gives a fuck. “Glass House” is a bouncy little bastard and is home to the best riff on the album (and some classic Robb Reiner kick-drum action) but the song itself is let down by weak vocal hooks. “Lips” has never been a great singer – and that’s not a situation that’s going to improve now he’s in his 6th decade – but he does give it his all and the likes of the tub-thumping “Nabbed In Nebraska” are catchy as hell and feel like a warm metal hug around your chubby midriff.
The bottom line is if you love Anvil for who they are and what they represent you are highly likely to enjoy every last second of Legal At Last. The rest of you will likely label it amateurish, cartoonish and inconsequential.
We fall in the former camp. Anvil forever! 7/10