"Pounding The Pavement"

By Professor Jocko

In order to fully understand the music of Anvil, you must first understand the origins of the band, and the zeitgeist from which they came . During the early 1980’s, there were a limited amount of hard-rock bands available, mainly because of the MTV generation which flooded the airwaves with an endless supply of pop and ska bands who were saturating popular mainstream music. Although heavy music was making a notable presence,it seemed to rely on certain formulas which were consistent from one band to the next; Anvil relied heavily on those typical formulas with the song writing and vocals as well. As many other bands of that time evolved, Anvil maintained that same formula, creating a slew of studio albums over a 25 year period, most of which achieved little acclaim in their chosen genre. 
Anvil’s stability and driving force is without a doubt, founding member, Steve "Lips" Kudlow, who refuses to let any obstacle get in the way of his devotion to his musical creation. Drummer Robb Reiner, also a founding member, equally contributes to Anvil’s undying bond and relentless work ethic as well. Their newest LP has a sound that is pure Anvil, yet seems to have more of a powerful sound to the production levels when compared to earlier releases. Just like with any band on any album, there are a few staples that show tremendous effort, and others that appear to be “filler” tunes, created to fulfill a 12-song quota. 

The album opener, titled “Bitch In The Box” has some distinct characteristics that may remind you of some Motorhead out-takes; perhaps because of the vocals and syncopated rhythms. Kudlow does have a slightly higher pitch to his voice than that of Lemmy, making it a little less malevolent in nature. Consecutive tracks have some charming vocals and guitar parts which carry the tempo and fill the song with enough variety to sustain interest with the listener. “Ego” and “Doing What I Want” are such songs, having the head-banger flow to them, with catchy guitar leads and creative vocals to match. However, when you get to “Smash Your Face”, seems to lose that same level of songwriting appeal. This is something I would have liked when I was 14 years old, when remedial lyrics and half-note rhythms were what I was into. 

One of the more impressive songs is the title track; an instrumental of all things, called “Pounding The Pavement”, really picks up the pace with the guitars, which are the driving force here. I feel as though this tune could have much more potential with some lyrics put to it, even if it were minimal, but without a chorus used repeatedly as heard in other songs on the album. There is one song however; that I feel could have been left on the cutting room floor called “Nanook Of The North”, which seems to mindlessly drone on with no apparent end to it. Although it tells a story perhaps, relies mostly on one repeating riff and a limited vocal range with very little variations. After listing to the album in its entirety a few times, found myself hitting the FF button on my stereo when this one came around. 

One of the catchier songs which ultimately showcases Robb "Robbo" Reiner’s drumming ability is called “Warming Up”, which is also heavily supplemented with some astounding guitar parts. The vocals don’t really demonstrate a high level of expertise, appearing a little tone-deaf in some ways, but utilize an upbeat tempo which really adds life to it. The final track, called “Don´t Tell Me” ends the album in the same fashion in which it started…in true Anvil form. I suppose I was hoping for more of a triumphant finish, seeing as this is labeled as a bonus track.