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Tumbling out of the Canadian tundra, Anvil were an early adjunct band to the NWOBHM, emerging in much the same manner as their Brit pals, just on a different continent. But whereas the UK was mostly impressed with the influence of Sabbath and Priest, these Canuck dudes surely worshipped at the altar of Ted Nugent, at least on this formative debut. The theme of this record is sex. Just sex, with only a Rolling Stones cover to break up the subject matter. If that sounds immature to you, then perhaps you should lay the entire Anvil discography to the side, cuz while they’d venture into other ideas later, they would rarely be ones you’ll need to crack open an encyclopedia to research.
Energy is the key component here, Anvil playing short and tightly wound tunes that are modest in their wattage but memorable in a guilty pleasure sort of manner. Witness “School Love,” with it’s sharp riffs and hyperactive drum performance (from Robb Reiner, a killer player) as well as the Motorhead-like thrust of “Bedroom Game.” “I Want You Both (With Me)” is similarly charged up, while “Ooh Baby” has a dire title, but a great, infectious nature. “Paint It Black” gets a nice treatment, the band pacing the track like Iron Maiden, as opposed to the Stones. For metal starved fans back in ’81, this well done debut was manna from hell, and gave hope that North America might wake up to the promise of the NWOBHM after all. And Anvil, despite being pioneers, would slowly take a back seat in that process. But for now and for the next few years they are decidedly still in the game.