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Anvil - 'Juggernaut Of Justice' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/original/eb/56/00/1655_anviljuggernautofjustice_1320343457.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 03, 2011    
 
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Focused, hard-hitting and overflowing with damn good, traditional heavy metal.

The last five years for Canada’s veteran metal outfit Anvil have made for the sort of tale you just couldn’t write and with ‘Juggernaut Of Justice’, their first set of new songs since 2007’s ‘Lucky Thirteen’, the band finally begin to put those whirlwind years behind them. For those of you unaware (I hope the rescue from the desert island went well!), Steve “Lips” Kudlow (guitars/vocals) and Robb Reiner (drums) formed Anvil in 1978, releasing excellent albums such as ‘Metal On Metal’ and ‘Forged In Fire’, although their “big break” remained ever elusive. Label and management shenanigans intervened and after signing to Metal Blade in 1987, the band continued to release solid, metal come thrash albums right up to ‘Back To Basics’ in 2004. In all truth at this stage, Anvil were nothing more than a footnote in the long list of “coulda, shoulda, woulda” metal acts who promised much, but for one reason or another fell out of the public consciousness. That was however until the recording of ‘This Is Thirteen’ was captured for the marvellous, honest, ridiculous, moving, utterly captivating and hugely successful documentary ‘Anvil! The Story Of Anvil’, which not only illustrated how dedicated, talented and passionate the main pair of “Lips” and Reiner, along with bassist Glenn Five are, but also allowed the audience to see the band’s human side. With Anvil’s new found public profile, the last three years have been crammed with live shows, public appearances and promotional events; rather bizarrely leaving an album coming in the band’s 33rd year as their most important.

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Well on the strength of ‘Juggernaut Of Justice’, there is absolutely no danger of Anvil being lumbered in with the novelty acts and in fact this album is one of the best pure heavy metal albums I’ve heard all year. Brimming with crushing riffs, snarling vocals, thundering bass lines and pummelling drums, ‘JOJ’ really is a hugely surprising fistful of metal that smacks home with a sickening wallop, before winding up and reigning down with a further succession of pin-point blows. Dip into this album at any stage and you’ll be struck by a wall of guitars and “Lips” lived-in yet convincingly sharp vocals, with the likes of the mighty title track, the shout along of ‘Fuken Eh!’ and the spooky ‘Paranormal’, all leaving no doubt that the hullabaloo surrounding this band is deserved for far more than having a quick heartfelt cry on camera. With songs titles like ‘Turn It Up’ and the aforementioned ‘Fuken Eh!’, it would be easy to dismiss this record as being a touch stereotypical, but intelligently worded tracks such as ‘Conspiracy’, which comments on the world’s current social and economic climate and an incredibly sharp production courtesy of Bob Marlette (Ozzy, Alice Cooper) makes sure that those accusations are well wide of the mark.

Focused, hard-hitting and overflowing with damn good, traditional heavy metal ‘Juggernaut Of Justice’ is an album that backs up Anvil’s bluster – and then some!

Steven Reid

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