Released: 2004, Galy
What can you say about Anvil that hasn’t already been said? Well, in this instance I’m going against the tide. BACK TO BASICS has got a number of poor reviews recently , but to my ears, it is their best work in years.
Anvil are still in top form delivering, in my mind classic Anvil. This album has more chunk, grit and groove than the last few. Produced by Pierre Remillard he seems to have recaptured some of that grimy Anvil essence that I felt was missing on the last few.
Good crunchy guitar tone, and as usual Reiner is likely wasting his talent in this band but his loyalty and dedication to the role supercedes the potential to expand his horizons.
Lyrically Lips still churns out the working man’s lamentations and or celebrations of money, weed, girls, hostility to the establishment in general and an appreciation of driving too fast and playing music too damn loud. I think they should release a ‘Best of’ with all their songs with lyrics about sex!! In this entry the Viagra-inspired tune ‘Keep It Up’ would make the cut. My favorite cut is the surprisingly heart-felt, ‘Song of Pain’, a mid-tempo cut, that really caught my ear. It clocks in at almost six minutes, longer than almost any Anvil tune, and is as close to an ‘epic’ as you are going to get with these guys, who usually play it hard and fast. Overall the band seem to display less of a sense of fun this CD and more of a feeling of world-weariness. That is understandable as the band have been going at it for along time now.
A long-running stable line-up has Anvil settled in a comfortable headspace, doing what they do best, album, tour, recover, album, tour recover…a pattern that has been consistent over the past ten years. I think a nice massive triple live CD/DVD would shake up the works for those who felt this album was too safe, but Lips says it is not in the works. Anvil delivers the metal…and , oh, look! There is an anvil on the cover! What a great band. They never let me down.