Anvil - Hope in Hell (2013) - There is some hope for sure - 80% (27/05/14)
“Hope In Hell” is the 15th record of the legendary Canadian heavy metal institution Anvil that finally got some well-deserved and needed attention after the release of the documentary “Anvil: The Story Of Anvil” five years ago. What followed was some sort of rebirth for the band with a strong record entitled “Juggernaut Of Justice” and two years after, we get this follow-up.
This record is the perfect example of an album that kicks off very strong but falls a little bit flat towards the end. The album starts with a bunch of energizing and also diversified songs. The opening title song “Hope In Hell” has a slight doom metal influenced tone but also a few riffs reminding me of slowed down thrash metal influences even though it doesn't directly sound like groove metal. This track sounds maybe like a mixture of Black Sabbath and Metallica. The following and truly energizing “Eat Your Words” is a lot dirtier and sharper and should be a fan favourite during the next concerts. This track isn’t a far cry from Motörhead for example. ”Through With You” has an opening riff that reminds me a lot of “Smoke On The Water” from Deep Purple but it’s far more than just an uninspired copy of it. The track is in fact a very catchy mid-tempo rocker with diversified vocals. This was one of the songs that already remained on my mind for quite a while after a first try. The band continues to deliver some of the most energizing and catchiest tracks I have heard in the traditional heavy metal genre for quite a while. Short and long, slow and fast, melancholic and joyful, dirty and melodic songs appear in a quite balanced way and the record seems to never get all too boring even if Anvil doesn’t try out anything truly new. I would also like to point out the track “Flying” which is a sympathetic rendition to the band’s fans all around the world and one of the best potential live anthems on the record. Let’s mention that the bonus tracks are also quite energizing and if you consider buying this release, you have no choice but to get them in my humble opinion. Especially “Fire At Will” is a firework of energy and a true monster of a song.
But despite all these positive elements, this record falls somehow flat in the last third which is rather sad because this release would have made it straight into my top five records of the year. During the last few tracks, you can’t help but feel like you have already heard these tracks before on the record because they are less original and unique. The simplistic hard rock driven “Badass Rock ‘N Roll” is such a track. Another good example is “Time Shows No Mercy” which is not a bad song per se but another typical mid-tempo track that worships the heavy metal style of the early eighties. Don’t get me wrong, these songs are still performed with passion but with a running time of over an hour things start to get redundant after a while and the concept starts to feel a little bit worn-out. A little experimental track or change of style would have made the final result a little bit fresher, more modern and more relevant in my humble opinion. Another possibility would have been to replace these tracks by the bonus songs and cut the record down to nine or ten songs only.
In the end, I’m not that much an expert of Anvil but I really liked a couple of energizing, honest and straight hard rock and heavy metal tracks on here and this especially in the first half of the album. This band is clearly better than many of those boring heavy metal revival bands with members in their late twenties who sound musically more closed-minded than their own parents. This record is a must have for somebody who still adores the pioneer years of heavy metal and wants to get back to this style without looking for old and dusty vinyl records in the attic. I don't really understand the negative critics concerning this album as it really is a worthwhile fun ride in my opinion.
Originally written for The Metal Observer« Crematory - Antiserum (2014) - Too much of a routine job - 52% (27/05/14)Omnium Gatherum - The Redshift (2008) - Promising elements but no breakthrough yet - 79% (27/05/14) »
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