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Speed Of Sound
Released: 1998, Hypnotic
Editors Note: Metal-Rules.com was founded in 1995 as a forward thinking site. Our goal is, and always has been, to support Real Metal. The decision was made that very rarely do we ever go back and review an album from before 1995. Does the world really need another CD review of Master Of Puppets, Powerslave or Screaming For Vengeance? We don’t think so. We have always supported what is happening now.
Starting in January, 2014, as we head towards the 20th Anniversary of Metal-Rules.com, we are looking back and filling in a few gaps in the review database. We want to complete the post-1995 review catalogue of some of the bands that we have supported since 1995, when very few, if any website were supporting real Metal. It’s fun to go back and revisit some of these albums that we did not review when they were first released. Enjoy!
As Anvil hit their 20th anniversary as a band, they released their 9th studio album, SPEED OF SOUND. The band forges on pure and true, same record label, same line-up and in all honesty, no discernible difference from the last few or the next few. By 1998 there were only a few remaining faithful fans like myself. In the Anvil biography, the band basically skips this entire album. They talk about for a few pages about a short and mostly disastrous North American tour that followed in 1999, but SPEED OF SOUND represents a pretty low point in the bands career arc. Public opinion is an odd thing because if you really look at SPEED OF SOUND is extremely similar to the last few albums, the band has it’s signature sound, a good label deal and good line-up but the fans stayed away for reasons other than the music.
Unfortunately, very few of the songs stick in my head and fewer still are even in the bands modern day setlist. The lyrics are still Lips and his everyday/everyman working class guy stories talking about terrorism, deadbeat dads, spies, and of course sex. In fact the songs that are about sex, ‘Mattress Mambo’ and ‘Man Over Broad’ tend to get the most attention for their double-entendre stories. The latter being a sex/fishing metaphor that while clever is never fully realized. There are a few bright spots as cuts like ‘Fear No Evil’ are among the heaviest Anvil has ever done, with Robb doing blastbeats with a slightly creepy keyboard background. I’m serious, check it out at the 1:28 minute mark. Lips howls and raves and churns out simple chugging riffs and cuts like ‘Life To Lead’ show quite a bit of fire but it is too little, too late.
I fully admire the band pushing a by-then dated sound. That is half the charm and appeal and as much as a fan can admire resiliency and tenacity, at some point even the most die-hard fans will need the band to deliver the goods. In Anvil’s deep and impressive catalogue, SPEED OF SOUND is average. By the law of averages, not every album can be great and this is one of Anvil average albums that only a few die-hard will truly appreciate.
1. Speed of Sound
2. Blood in the Playground
3. Deadbeat Dad
4. Man Over Board
5. No Evil
7. Matress Mambo
8. Secret Agent
9. Life to Lead
10. Park That Truck
Steve Kudlow Vocals, Guitar
Ivan Hurd Guitars
Glenn Five Bass
Robb Reiner Drums
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