without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
So "Butter-Bust Jerky" examined the joys of splashing your man-wax on a lover's bouncing assets, and now we've got a compilation named for a title track in which Anvil entreats us on the joys of a similar emission along the contours of her backside... perfectly acceptable to all us perverts in the audience, but it makes me wonder if part of the band's plight in not reaching the level of their North American peers in the mid 80s might have had something to do with such colorful lyrical exploitations? Probably not, but I doubt it helped. After all, "Bang Your Head" wasn't about THAT head, and "We're Not Gonna Take It" was not, at least in my estimation, a hard rocking anthem for premarital abstinence.
Backwaxed arrived at a period in which Anvil were somewhat inactive in terms of their studio output. Having rocked out three albums in three consecutive years (1981-83), the band was busy gigging, dealing with personal shit and inevitably, seeking out a larger label deal (this was the last release through Attic records). So until 1987, in which Metal Blade and the band would collaborate for Strength of Steel, this was all we were getting, and it's a mix of redundant tracks from the prior full-lengths and studio outtakes that were recorded during the sessions for both Metal on Metal and Forged in Fire. Sadly, these are hardly hidden gems, but frivolous pieces of fluff which I would also have left off the full-lengths due to their relative ineptitude.
Four of the five rare cuts were unreleased, except "Steamin'" which had appeared on the band's rare s/t EP in 1982. I'd never gotten hold of that, so it was cool to finally hear it...until I actually heard it, and it's basically your typical throwback hard rock sex track similar to what they had written on previous albums, but the lyrics suck and the music is not much better despite the bluesy burn of the lead. Two others ("You're a Liar" and "Fryin' Cryin'") also suffer the same fate, with useless and uninteresting riffs and a pretty piss poor performance of Dave Allison's vocals on the former. Then there's the instrumental "Pussy Poison" which is faster paced Priest style speed metal with some crazy flange on the opening riffs, and "Backwaxed" itself, which is a pretty loud and proud means of celebrating the 'pulling out' method of doggy style birth control, and ironically far more memorable than any of these other obscurities...
As for the rest, they basically decided to fill out 37 minutes of play time with five selections from the earlier albums. Some strong songs here, like "School Love" off Hard 'n' Heavy and "Metal on Metal" from the sophomore of the same name, rounded out by "Jackhammer", "Scenery" and of course the "Backwaxed" companion piece "Butter-Bust Jerky". But I can't help but feel this was both a retarded and redundant choice. Why not huck a short live set on the album instead? Or some demo reels? Fuck, give us SOMETHING we do not already own. The ways these are just tacked onto the end feels pretty lazy and heavily cripples the compilation's value as a whole.
Ultimately, the only tunes here that are not a waste of time are "Backwaxed" and "Pussy Poison", but neither is worth paying whatever outrageous amount it might require to get one's hands upon this release, and really, even they are not at the level of most of the fare on the first five albums. That said, these songs are not available elsewhere. Even the later, comprehensive anthologies don't sport them, so if you're an absolute die hard or manic collector, it might be worth having for completion's sake. Otherwise, listen to "Backwaxed" on Youtube or something, laugh at the funny lyrics and move along.
Among the Anvil discography, Backwaxed is a bit of an oddball. Released in 1985 by Attic records after the band had been dropped from the label, this compilation of outtakes, demos and best-of material is not regarded highly by the band. Still, the album is for the most part a good, noisy metal blast.
My cassette copy lists “Pussy Poison” as the opening track. This is in fact erroneous, as “Backwaxed” comes first and it’s worth the price of admission alone. This song is absolutely vulgar, the song that was too explicit even for Lips who wrote it and then demanded it excluded from the “Forged in Fire” album. This high-speed song is right up there with WASP’s “F*ck Like a Beast” in the contest for most explicit metal song of all time. “Pull it in and pull it out, tap it on your back and watch it spout,” sings Lips in this ultimate ode to misogyny. The guitar riff during the chorus is vicious and sounds so damn heavy. Every Anvil fan needs to hear this song and the band should bring it back into the set because it is an absolute asskicker.
The rest of side one doesn’t do mush for me. “Steamin’” is ok and the instrumental “Pussy Poison” is quite a good song but it sounds like a demo recording. This one should be redone and recorded properly as it features some killer fast drumwork from Robb Reiner. When Neil Peart dies from chain-smoking Marlboros Robb will become the one true drum god of Canadian metal; the man is a badass. “You’re a Liar” and “Fryin’ Cryin” are nothing special. In fact I would recommend Dave Allison to shut the fuck up and play his guitar. All the songs he sang in Anvil ended up being sub par cock rock. Guess it doesn’t matter now as he left the band ages ago, probably because he wasn’t heavy enough to hang with the demigods of Canadian metal.
Side two of my rusty cassette is a sort of “best of” compilation featuring tracks from the earlier albums that every Anvil fan should already own. They are all killer, classic tracks including the anthemic “Metal on Metal,” the heavy metal hoedown “Butter Bust Jerky” and the hard rocking “School Love” from the debut album.
While not the best place to begin exploring Anvil if you are new to the band, ‘Backwaxed” should be a part of every diehard fans’ collection. If you’re worried about offending an overly sensitive girlfriend I’d recommend playing it when you’re on your own. But if she’s down with the metal and up for getting greasy, well then, have fun and fire away!
The main incentive for buying this record is that the first five tracks are previously unreleased. However, the second half consists entirely of quite familiar songs - apparently, they wanted to stretch it out to LP length to make more money. This incidentally also makes "Backwaxed" an okay introduction to Anvil... I actually found it by accident in a thrift store and bought it as I've heard good things about Anvil from people I trust but apparently their records are a bit difficult to find on this side of the Atlantic.
Those already fans of Anvil will know what to expect - a simple, distinctly eighties form of heavy metal somewhat more raw than the better known of their contemporaries, a feel aided in no small part by the typically sleazy lyrics. Frontman Steve "Lips" Kudlow's vocals are nowhere as high-pitched as the world's Rob Halfords and Udo Dirkschneiders, but not as gruff as Tom G. Warrior or Lemmy either.
In terms of varied style "Backwaxed" spans from songs that are faster-than-usual heavy metal that still is too slow to be called speed metal (the title track and concert mainstay instrumental "Pussy Poison") to more relaxed fare similar to a more metallic version of straight-up hard rock like AC/DC or Ram Jam ("Steamin'", "You're A Liar"). A few songs, curiously enough mostly those taken from previous Anvil records, fall somewhere in between - making the best point of reference (for those who haven't heard Anvil) a cross between classic Accept and Dio's first two solo albums but with a significantly more "DIY" feel than either and Lips' vocals not really sounding like Dio or Udo.
There's none of the progressive rock tendencies of Iron Maiden or Deep Purple to be found here, the only intricacy coming from the guitar solos. ... which brings me to the only major complaint with the previously unreleased tracks - on (thankfully only) some of them the rhythm guitar is significantly higher in the mix than the leads. What's the deal with that? In general, though, the first half has generally worse production than the second half complete with a somewhat thin sound that doesn't really suit this type of music, but I don't believe for a second that it's a result of the band producing it themselves.
Other than that, the only thing really wrong with "Backwaxed" other than the dedicated fans of Anvil that are its target audience not really having much interest in side two as they already own the preceding three albums, is that as good as it is at what it does it doesn't quite reinvent the wheel... oh, wait a second, in context it probably did - well, sorta, as far as the relative newbie writing this review has read it seems like Anvil were one of the first bands to be considered "power metal". In its original sense, that is, which means that I'd take this over Gamma Ray or Hammerfall any day of the week. But the previously unreleased songs could have had a much better production and mixing, and for that I'm taking off a handful of points.