Tribute albums are nothing new but some are certainly better than others. As we all know, often bands will record cover tunes. There are a few of the bigger Metal labels will often just compile all the cover tunes from their roster and churn out a decent but uninspired tribute. More like a collection of covers rather than a tribute. Then there are those CD’s that are put together with nothing but admiration and respect for the band being held in tribute. STRONG AS STEEL-A TRIBUTE TO ANVIL is fortunately in the later category. Earlier this year Skol Records released this excellent tribute to one of the globe’s Metal pioneers and the driving force behind the tribute, Bart Gabriel, even speaks to this point in the introductory essay.
The packaging is excellent, even the cover art would have been perfect for a real Anvil album! There multi-page booklet has a page and photo dedicated to each band who appear on the tribute and each band has a few words on why they want to pay tribute to Anvil. There bands from all over the world; especially the strongholds of Anvil’s fan-base, the holy trinity of true Metal countries; Germany, Japan and Greece! There are some known bands (Crystal Viper, Breaker) and some lesser-known bands, but all of them do a good job on their particular choices. It is evident where the bands preferences lie as the vast majority of the songs covered are from Anvil’s first four albums, some might argue their most influential phase of their career.
In terms of the songs and production, the bands that perform the tracks all fall in the classic, true Metal zone and play it fairly traditional. No weird, neo-folk piano and pan-pipe versions, just kick-ass Metal bands playing tribute to one of the original kick-ass Metal bands. My favourite version was probably Skeletor’s version of ‘Cut Loose’ from STRENGTH OF STEEL.
I love tributes and I love Anvil so this was an easy buy for me! Apparently, the band fully endorsed the album, giving that little bit of extra legitimacy. This disc is quite rare and hard to find. It was limited to a pressing of 666 copies naturally so grab your copy before they all disappear!
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