Anvil – Impact Is Imminent (Album Review)

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An impact heard round the world.

Sometimes the best way to leave an impression is to take a sledgehammer to things, and for more than 40 years this has been Canadian heavy metal pioneering act Anvil’s approach to expanding the definition of rock. In truth, were baseball legend Yogi Berra to have given his take on their sound, he’d have said they just rocked too hard to be hard rock. Such is the same modus operandi that typified the late 70s and early 80s purveyors of the NWOBHM that were Anvil’s contemporaries as they took the roots of earlier rock styles and distilled the most aggressive and raw elements until something altogether distinct emerged. Barring a few stints into more thrashing territory here and there, they’re sound has generally stuck about as close to older hard rock and blues influences that as the likes of Diamond Head and Motorhead while still occasionally dabbling in more frenetic territory, and their latest studio installment “Impact Is Imminent” is no exception.

Naturally any raucous occasion deserves a correspondingly boisterous introduction, and this album pulls no punches by throwing a sampled spoken inspirational bit dedicated to the band by none other than David Grohl from one of their live appearances to kick things off. It proves a fitting sonic prologue as opening anthem “Take A Lesson” has all of the organic intensity of a live performance on stage that has been given a stellar coat of post-production paint as it lays down a heavy yet straightforward metallic foundation for what is to come. Things take on an even more vicious, borderline speed/thrash flavor with the onset of the blistering riff monster “Ghost Shadow”, taking some cues from Exciters and Metallicas that they originally inspired when they first hit the scene at the dawn of the 1980s. Rounding out the impressive trifecta that adorns this extensive LP’s beginning is the slower shuffling crusher “Another Gun Fight”, which sees a riveting, fill-crazed performance by drummer Robb Reiner that reaffirms that next step in the evolutionary chain from John Bonham that originally helped set Anvil apart from the pack.

In most respects, “Impact Is Imminent” proves a quintessential display of the power trio format within a heavy metal context, as Reiner is not alone in showcasing his technical chops. Bassist and de facto newcomer to the fold Chris Robertson showcases a charming mixture of Geezer Butler-like flash combined with a Lemmy Kilmister sense of raunchiness throughout the album, with his biggest standout moments occurring on the humorously dubbed upbeat blues rock instrumental “Teabag” and the speed metal-infused kill session “Bad Side Of Town”. Yet as usual, the lion’s share of the show is stolen by the fold’s iconic front man Steve “Lips” Kudlow, whom in addition to injecting a metric ton of personality into each song with his highly charismatic and versatile voice, hurls a brilliant volley of biting riffs and flashy solos into the mix. Such standout moments as the NWOBHM-injected monster “Fire Rain”, the Judas Priest oriented speeder “Someone To Hate” and the just utterly captivating rocker with a heavy Deep Purple vibe and Motorhead edge “Explosive Energy” are exemplary notches in the band’s belt that see Lips demonstrating just how inspired a legion of thrash guitarists, both lead and rhythm, to take up the art.

Though it’s all but a foregone conclusion that “Impact Is Imminent” was destined to stand a little beneath the classic magnum opuses that were “Metal On Metal” and Pound For Pound, this is the sort of culmination of past exploits brought into a present context that is sure to remind any fan of heavy metal why this act is one of the original greats. The old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll philosophy of partying hard and enjoying the moment have naturally given way to a more sober and socially aware take on things, most notably on the somber, Black Sabbath-influenced exploration of the recent past “Lockdown”, while the stylistically adventurous turns taken on the closing rock instrumental “Gomez” with its jazzy grooves and kicking horn section see a band that isn’t afraid to think outside of the box from time to time. It’s a fun-filled and intricate ride from start to finish that will have any onlooker wondering how three guys could fill an arrangement so completely, and ultimately leaves them with little doubt as to why every band in thrash metal’s Big 4 cites them as a major influence on metal’s development on the western side of the Atlantic.

Released By:  AFM Records
Release Date: May 20th, 2022
Genre: Heavy Metal

“Impact Is Imminent” track listing:

 1. Take A Lesson
 2. Ghost Shadow
 3. Another Gun Fight
 4. Fire Rain
 5. Teabag
 6. Don’t Look Back
 7. Someone To Hate
 8. Bad Side Of Town
 9. Wizard’s Wand
10. Lockdown
11. Explosive Energy
12. The Rabbit Hole
13. Shockwave
14. Gomez

ANVIL is:

  • Steve “Lips” Kudlow / Guitars, vocals
  • Robb Reiner / Drums
  • Chris Robertson / Bass

Order “Impact Is Imminent” HERE.

8.8 Excellent

Old tricks with a new twist are the order of the day for Canada’s original heavy metal export Anvil, as more than 40 years of experience in helping to pioneer the art form is poured into a pummeling beast of a 19th studio album

  • Songwriting 9
  • Musicianship 9
  • Originality 8.5
  • Production 8.5
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