Anvil – This Is Thirteen (2007, independent release)
- This Is Thirteen
- Bombs Away
- Burning Bridges
- Ready To Fight
- Flying Blind
- Axe To Grind
- Feed The Greed
- Big Business
- Should’a Would’a Could’a
- Game Over
- American Refugee
Robb Reiner – Drums
Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Glenn Five – Bass & Backing Vocals
Ivan Hurd – Guitar solos on ‘Burning Bridges’, ‘Worry’, & ‘Room #9
Producer: Chris Tsangarides
Total Time = 51:07
Legendary Canadian metallers Anvil have taken matters into their own hands by self-financing and self-releasing their 13th album of their long 27 year career, THIS IS THIRTEEN. It turns out that Anvil couldn’t get any interest from labels around the world to release the new album so they decided to do it all themselves and release it through their website in October 2007. Only 1000 copies were made and it’s strictly limited edition…..it’s my opinion if they sold 1000 copies independently, then a label would come calling and distribute it worldwide.
So what does Anvil really have to offer with a new record? Well, if you’ve been even a casual fan then you know that Anvil stay pretty much within a certain framework when creating music. The band plays straight forward Heavy Metal…..sometimes it’s slow and pounding, sometimes it’s fast and furious…..there are great songs, there is filler. It’s similar to AC/DC not straying from their blues boogie Hard Rock roots, Anvil doesn’t stray too far from the formula that produced Metal classics like METAL ON METAL (1982) or FORGED IN FIRE (1983). The difference between the two bands is that AC/DC is revered and Anvil is thought of as a joke.
The joke is on everyone who didn’t pick this up yet because Anvil has created one heavy record. Lips is still a monster riff machine, Robb Reiner pounds his kit as hard as anyone in Metal and Glenn Five has the wild thumping bass to keep up with Reiner. ‘This Is Thirteen’ heavily plods along in a mid-pace pound that made Anvil famous in the early ’80s while ‘Bombs Away’ picks up the pace with some fast double bass drumming and a speedy main riff, a serious ’80s Metal feast! The old school feel continues with the heavy plodding ‘Burning Bridges’. The riff is classic early ’80s and the song sounds like it came out of 1986 on Metal Blade Records. Speed picks up again with the barnburning ‘Ready To Fight’. It’s similar to ‘Bombs Away’ in that it’s basically the same style (fast Heavy Metal) but there are some different drum patterns that make the song seem faster. Notice the balance? Mid-paced song, fast one, mid-paced song, fast one…..Anvil’s formula is predictable but so is their album sequencing!
Of course, ‘Flying Blind’ breaks the pattern because it’s another fast one but, aside from a decent riff, it’s sounds of filler and the chorus is way too repetitive but that’s what we expect from the old dogs. I swear that ‘Room #9’ is the same song as ‘Flying Blind’! The choruses sound almost exact but there are a couple of different guitar parts along with a really good solo…..I wonder if the band realizes how similar the songs are musically? ‘Room #9’ is about being committed due to insanity and I will be if I hear another copycat song! Anvil decides to pound their point home with their third burner in a row with the excellent ‘Axe To Grind’, a serious metaller with a big sounding main riff and bassline to go along with Reiner’s insane drumming. The band is tight and Lips sounds like he’s really putting top effort into his pain-filled vocals as he has into his excellent guitar work on the whole album. ‘Feed The Greed’ continues the fast pace with another solid tune, this has go to be a song Anvil plays live because it gets the fist pumping and the head banging! The band moves into familiar slower territory with ‘Big Business’, a commentary on the state of the world’s economic state and a companion piece to the faster ‘Feed The Greed’.
I don’t like ‘Should’a, Would’a, Could’a’, the lyrics just come off as second rate and it sounds like I’ve heard it all before. It’s a fast song but it sounds like all the fast ones before it, the band just doesn’t take many chances. Same with ‘Worry’, it’s fast but the lyrics are weak and sounds like it was thrown together too quickly. ‘Game Over’ has a totally different guitar tone and, finally, Lips and company take a new chance. Even the vocal sounds a little different, almost like Lemmy. Now that I think about it, Anvil has a lot in common with Motorhead too because Lemmy doesn’t stray far from their sound either. ‘Game Over’ sounds like a Motorhead tune. Anvil saves one of the best for last with ‘American Refugee’, another scorcher with great guitar work and drumming.
If you like straight forward, bare knuckled, traditional Heavy Metal that Anvil plays then THIS IS THIRTEEN is an album you want to check out. The band doesn’t stray too much from their usual style but that is what bands like Anvil do and that is what fans expect. If Anvil came out and played a brand of Progressive Metal or Glam-tinted Hard Rock, we would all be scratching our heads wondering what went wrong. It’s good to get what you expect, especially when it’s well done. Anvil sticks to their guns, plays their Metal, and does it with pride. THIS IS THIRTEEN is one of the most underrated records of 2007 and I have no idea why a label would pass this up!
Favorite Songs: ‘Axe To Grind’, ‘American Refugee’, ‘Game Over’, ‘Feed The Greed’, ‘Burning Bridges’