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I really hate to rate "Forged In Fire" better than Anvil's previous classic "Metal On Metal", but at the end of the day, it takes the ground-breaking proto-thrash metal sound and progresses it further to an even better more well-rounded album that see the Canadian metal heads completely discover their own brand of epic, technical, yet cheesy in a completely amusing way type of brand that not too many bands have come close to replicating and probably for good reason.
For their third album, Anvil continue the formula that brought them international success and cult status with "Metal On Metal" and work out some of the kinks and quirks they had. Not to say that was a bad album, but it sounded like they were coming into their own and on "Forged In Fire" they find themselves comfortable with their instruments. Quick history lesson; Anvil were still somewhat pioneering with their music. Outside of Raven, Accept, Venom, and Motorhead nobody was really pushing the envelope as far as speed and heaviness goes. Anvil got that process started and no more than a year after their 2nd album, things started to catch up. The year is 1983 and we all know the big names that would pop-up; Metallica, Slayer, Mercyful Fate, and Hellhammer. They would start infiltrating on what Anvil mistakenly had done which was be the bridge between NWOBHM and thrash metal, but fortunately for Anvil they had one last classic album before they really started to be left behind in the trail of dust the other bands would create.
First the sound production is not as echoy as heard on "Metal On Metal." "Forged In Fire" has a sound that could easily compete with any Judas Priest album out there for the most part. Secondly the lyrics are even better, more well-constructed, but this is really all we get. "Forged In Fire" follows the same song formula as "Metal On Metal". You have the heavy-as-hell Sabbath title track , with the second track being the more epic power metal-sounding anthem. And let me just say this, fucking Anvil sounds a LOT like Judas Priest's "Ram It Down" but not as fast. Vocalist Steve 'Lips" Kudlow does his best Rob Halford impression and comes pretty damn close. "Free As The Wind" starts off with a psychedelic melody but turns into a "Saba Cadabra" on speed minus the heaviness of the first track. "Never Decieve Me", and "Make It Up To You" are the album's attempts at trying to have that AOR/Hard Rock/Radio metal chance at success, but in truth they're not bad. "Future Wars" and "Winged Assassins" are the album's "666" and "Mothra".
Again if you put "Metal On Metal" and "Forged In Fire" back to back, you would be listening to the same album in terms of how the songs are out together, sound, and where they are placed. It would seem like a cop-out on the band's part to try to play it safe seeing how 'Metal On Metal" gave them the international cult status they have, but "Forged In Fire" improves on everything they were trying to do and is a signature of the Anvil sound.