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Anvil, the hard working band that sacrificed pretty much all they had but never got that big break and truth be told, there were other bands who had success simply because they were better than this three-piece. Anvil, or to be more precise, guitarist and vocalist Lips and drummer Robb Reiner never gave up their quest for fame and even if they still to this day don't have a massive fan base, most people into metal know something about this combo. After parting ways in a heavy dispute last year with long time bass player Glenn Five, Sal Italiano has joined the ranks of the Canadian veterans.
To no surprise and guarantee, this release is yet another backbone heavy metal album. It's energetic and the flag of metal is raised to the top. Hope In Hell shows a somewhat timeless metal if seeing it from today's point of view, yet with slightly better sound quality than on their earlier albums, naturally. No compromises, taking no shit, and no greasy ballads. What more is there to ask for?
With this solid background, indeed I want to totally sell my soul and dig this effort to infinity, but the lack of good songwriting is truly evident and it never gets past decent. The lack of this most important ability is clear throughout almost the entire record. Some of the songs are all but good and only a few, like Eat Your Words, The Fight Is Never Won, and ironically the bonus track Fire At Will, sets my body and neck muscles in motion. I've only listened to Hope In Hell six or seven times, but I can't see an opening to make this album grand eventually.
I know there are diehard Anvil fans out there who will see this album as another true masterpiece and question my hearing and see me as tone deaf, but to me this is just a release in the immensely huge jungle of metal music that grows on trees. It's not striking me at all and I quickly lose interest.
Originally written for www.metalcovenant.com