Anvil - Pounding The Pavement

Anvil - Pounding The Pavement

(CD, SPV/Steamhammer, 2018)

"It's not as good as the previous ones, is it?" I remember thinking that when spinning ANVIL's 17th record “Pounding The Pavement” for the first time. On the other hand, I think I've been down the same path for each record since “Juggernaut Of Justice”, since “This Is Thirteen” struck hard right from start.

But as the last couple of records, “Pounding The Pavement” started to come around after a few spins, details de-crystallized and the songs started to settle. For sure, opening track, “Bitch In The Box” was eye (and ear) catching immediately and for a moment I thought it wasn't ethically correct in these #metoo times to name a song in that way. But, as it's done with humor and glimpse in the eye, if people fail to see this then the campaign has gone way too far.

Fast “Ego” was one of the first songs that stuck; the MOTÖRHEAD-esque beat and filth and the way Lips barfs out the words makes me wanna crank up the volume. It's a simple track but the groove and the roll ANVIL have makes these songs absolutely amazing. Even if ANVIL's music is simple and straightforward, everything is delivered with a lot of wit and finesse. For this one, it might be perfectly clear for everyone who's targeted in the lyrics, still the expression is very smart.  Heavy “Smash Your Face” touches upon the groove from “Hope In Hell” being rock-solid and very catchy. It would be strange though if a song with such a direct chorus wouldn't strike hard. This too was one of the first to get stuck and it's one that keeps growing with each spin.

I think it's very cool that the album’s title track is an instrumental one. But when compared against “Swing Thing” from “Juggernaut Of Justice” this one is more straightforward and a classic Heavy Metal track. Just as for “Swing Thing”, ANVIL manages to keep the song interesting straight through, building on guitar-melodies instead of a vocal line.

Asking Peter (my husband and ANVIL expert, die-hard fan and so on...), what his favorite track is, I got rather surprised when he said “Nanook On The North”. At that point, I could hardly even recall how it sounded. And this is what I think is great with ANVIL; at a first glance a song can appear modest and unappealing just to be on the top of the list of the album once it has settled. It sure is a heavy one, going down the same path as “New Orleans Voodoo” and “Zombie Apocalypse” which are favorites from respective albums. This sure puts “Nanook On The North” at the top of my list too.

And yes, it's possible to draw lines between old ANVIL songs and what's being released on “Pounding The Pavement”. “Black Smoke” and “Smokin’ Green” is one example; it's not a copy, rather a parallel track and with this no one can blame ANVIL for not sticking to their standards at least. Then, in “World Of Tomorrow” it might be a little too much of the classic BLACK SABBATH track “Sweet Leaf”. But then again, the more the record spins, the greater life of its own the track gets. I really like the changes in the beat and the way the song is structured makes it stand out. That the mid-section is something completely different sure makes it work. Also, to tie everything together, the same head as being dealt with in “Ego" gets another punch here with; follow the leader that you should resist.

Another favorite, which in the same way as “Swing Thing” showing what ANVIL is capable of, is “Warming Up”; the album closer (if managing to get a version without bonus tracks) is a fast and jazzy one and the swing and finesse Robb Reiner shows should scare any youngster off. The variation and dynamics in his playing are amazing. It's not often I notice the drummer, it must be extreme one way or another and this sure is for the best possible grounds.

So, definitely, ANVIL have found their sound and have delivered yet another great album. It doesn't deliver any surprises, but a whole batch of great Heavy Metal tracks in true ANVIL spirit.





01. Bitch In The Box
02. Ego
03. Doing What I Want
04. Smash Your Face
05. Pounding The Pavement
06. Rock That Shit
07. Let It Go
08. Nanook On The North
09. Black Smoke
10. World Of Tomorrow
11. Warming Up
12. Don't Tell Me (bonus)


Lips - Vocals, Guitar
Robb Reiner - Drums
Chris Robertson - Bass