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Obscure thrash music is making a comeback. This is pretty much inevitable considering the resurgence of old school thrash music, especially since alot of the new wave thrashers, myself included, are hungry for newmusic and have been digging around really deep to find good bands. And a few obscure gems, both in and out of thrash have been found these last few years; after all, look at what has happened to bands like Morbid Saint, Exhorder, and Demolition Hammer, who never got much of a chance to make it big in the past, but are names that everyone is starting to take note of. When you hear obscure bands like this that are of that high caliber and quality, it can tend to make you wonder how many other good bands are out there that no one has ever heard of.
That is how I basically came across this band. I heard the name mentioned by someone before, and decided to check this band out. And I have to say, unlike the previously mentioned bands, there is a reason why this band stayed obscure.
The music is pretty unoriginal and bland, there isn't anything here that you haven't heard other bands already do. It also doesn't sound very inspired, it sounds more like some guys just fucking around and jamming in a garage, not like a bunch of pissed off thrashers trying to make the pain peel off of the walls.
The lyrics to alot of the songs are pretty stupid too. They are ultimately very cheesy, and the bad vocals coming from the frontman, along with the FUCKING AWFUL backing vocals just add to how comical it is. And I can't stress enough how bad the backing vocals actually are. They are high pitched, naisally, and cartoonish sounding......not exactly the sound you want with a thrash band.
The band is kind of sloppy too. Again, it sounds like guys just kind of jamming and fucking around in a garage. The musicianship shows because of this, although they aren't bad players, the members of Anvil Bitch are just ok.
The bad production doesn't help either. And it's pretty bad, even for a thrash album. There is absolutely no power to the guitar or drums at all, which again, is not the sound you want on a thrash album.
This is bargain bin material at best. As far as East Coast thrash goes, you can do a hell of a lot better than this.
Imagine you're a Pennsylvania blue collar thrash metal band in 1986 about to release your debut album in a year that would produce Master of Puppets and Reign in Blood. Madness! This was the case for Anvil Bitch, and Rise to Offend, while competent and crafted with the loving filth that characterized many obscure thrash records in its day, was lost in the pack.
Rise to Offend is dominated by its simple but effective chugging tones, which bring to mind the immortal Kill 'Em All. Gary Capriotti had a vocal style not unlike A.K.'s vocals on the first two Flotsam & Jetsam albums, but does occasionally falter into a lame falsetto voice that probably should have just been left off the album. At best, the writing on this album can be remembered as Kill 'Em All's scrappy little brother. He throws on a dungaree jacket, grabs a tire iron, and heads out into the street to rough up the locals ("Lie Through Your Teeth", "Life After Death", "Time to Die") but takes a few lickings himself ("Argue With a Sick Mind"). Surprisingly, the album saves its best for last, the energetic "Shark Attack" and the band's namesake "Anvil Bitch". I really liked the provocative name of this band and album title, but they would ultimately outlast the charms of the music itself in the end. But if you're fixing for a dirty, honest, and raw 80s thrash experience for the mid 80s and have run out of Hallow's Eve records, shoot this into your veins.
Highlights: Lie Through Your Teeth, Shark Attack, Anvil Bitch
One of those albums that came out amongst the cream of classics that were released the same year that was 1986. Hailing from Philadelphia which was not too popular for much of a thrash metal scene, Anvil Bitch barely stood a chance to even get remotely noticed. Considering their origin and more importantly the amount of groundwork that had been put in simply added to their woes. The musicianship was alright but the songwriting was close to mediocre and the production was downright awful. The vocals too sounded too pretentious. Had the production values been used to good effect, this album could have raised a few eyebrows but only just.
The style portrayed on this album very much follows the tried and tested thrash formula which gave the big four instant recognition. It closely resembles bay area styled thrash but rather than giving more emphasis on the NWOBHM sound that inspired the genre altogether, more punk riffs can be heard on this.
As soon as the album kicks off with the first song, which is the title track it is be immediately noticed that the production is simply run of the mill and left a lot to be desired. The bass and the drums are too loud and almost make the guitars sound like they’ve been blown several metres away. Rise to Offend although doesn’t sound too bad for an album kick starter. The riffs are decent and the solo in between is not too bad for its time. The next track, Lie through your teeth pretty much follows its predecessor in a similar way. Vengeance of the sword starts off with a cool riff similar to Metallica’s Creeping death and this track is still pretty good as compared to quite a few other tracks on this album. Life after death also starts off with a captivating riff and the song too is decent with my only complaint being the unnecessary attempts of the vocalist to attain those high pitched wails.
Time to Die is just another less than decent track which doesn’t have much to offer. The follow up Argue with a sick mind is a good stomper with a catchy chorus . Maggot Infestation and Neckbreaker are those tracks that could have been better off on a punk album. They sound very immature and it was imminent by these tracks that the band was running short of ideas . Arsenic and Cyanide on the other hand still provides some sort of a relief with its neat sounding riff and a chorus that sounds well in place. One of those good songs on this album. The next two tracks are just decent and not worth much attention.
The album closes with the best track on this album and perhaps the best song Anvil Bitch has ever composed in their short lived career. Called Anvil Bitch, it starts off with a great sounding riff which continues throughout the length of the song. The vocals sound good on this and surprisingly the production on this song makes it sound like it doesn’t belong to this album. The chorus and the solo sound balanced and make this song an enjoyable listen.
Overall, I would only recommend this album to the more avid listener of thrash or one who gives a damn to the production and likes his stuff raw. For others it would just be another album added to his already existing collection.
Anvil Bitch only made one album and after hearing Rise to Offend it's easy to see why. Make no mistake, this isn't a bad album, just one that suffers from various key factors which bring it down badly.
The main problem with this album is that it is, well, average. The riffs are uninteresting for the most part, and there's nothing here that grabs you by the throat and makes you headbang till your neck snaps. This issue is accentuated by the shit production job, in which the drums are at the forefront of the mix, overshadowing the guitars. The whole thing sounds dull because of the production, which is a shame because if it were mixed properly then it would have a lot more of an effect. Another problem is the vocalist who while not being the worst singer ever does unnecessary falsettos in places which don't need them. His falsettos aren't even that good either, and detract from the album.
So what's good about it? Well there are some good moments, such as the song 'Arsenic and Cyanide' and the main riff in 'Rise to Offend'. Sure, they're pretty average thrashers when you consider what else was being released in 1986 but compared to the other stuff on the album they're pretty enjoyable. There are some good riffs scattered around on the album, but they are brought down because of the previously mentioned bad production. The solos are pretty good, even if half of them sound like a replica of Hammett's soloing.
This album had stiff competition for the year it was released, and it's not hard to see why this band is forgotten nowadays. It's a shame really, because if they fixed up the main issues that were present you would have an above average thrash record. What it is though, is a thrash record that while not being bad is just generic, and fails to do anything which would warrant more than a few listens.
Anvil Bitch’s sole release is one of the more recognizable efforts released by New Renaissance. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it’s any good and generally gets the deserved rap as a second shelf thrash record. First, deadening their possible destructive force is a shoddy production where the guitars are overshadowed by everything else. Second, it isn’t really all that destructive.
With their single, “To the Grave”, on the Thrash Metal Attack compilation, it was obvious (to me, anyway) the band had problems. The songwriting wasn’t bad, but vocalist Gary Cappriotti went beyond the college try to a mild, yet strained falsetto that is often too shaky to take seriously. Then when he showed up during the recording session of their debut, I couldn’t bring myself to buy this lp. I’d later find the cassette cheap somewhere.
The PA quartet seemed to write songs that are elementary to me. While most Golden Years (’83 til about ’86) thrash isn’t the pinnacle of technical songwriting and otherworldly thought, they fall to a more sub par standard yet and weren't able to exact the thrash flavor I could see they were striving for.
Instead of zoning on what’s average about this lp, let’s look at the brighter side. Some aspects trying to rescue this lp from mediocrity are most everything in “Lie Through Your Teeth” except the unimpressively simplistic solo, the voiceless pieces of “Life After Death”, the twin bass and backing vocal-charged chorus of “Argue With a Sick Mind” (which was originally “To the Grave”), songs “Arsenic & Cyanide” and “Fight For Your Life”, and the enthused percussion in the short mid-riff of “Shark Attack”. Side two’s opener “Maggot Infestation” sits on the fence with its jokey, slapstick-style main verse/lyrics (akin to something Sweaty Nipples or The Mentors would do) colliding with its dynamic chorus and finish. Seems like a lot of material, but is a whole twelve minutes of Rise to Offend’s lifespan.
The darker spots are as vivid, but exist more as a chain reaction of problems. Intensity is a prime ingredient for the style, but eludes a hefty portion of these twelve tracks, most noticeable in the central rhythms of “Argue With a Sick Mind”, “Time To Die”, “Anvil Bitch”, and “Vengeance of the Sword”. Chunkier guitar fuzz would’ve undoubtedly thickened the lp’s grit despite the derelict mix job thanks to Dark Audio Studios, but this wouldn’t save it from mostly run of the mill song sculpting. Songwriting, married to imagination, rear songs. An uneventful marriage = uneventful songs = uneventful album. While Philadelphia isn’t the thrash hotbed of LA or NY, is Capprioti with his unkempt and unfocused style the best that came walking through the door? Same goes for John Plumley, whose solos are as original and fresh as they are uninspired. As a whole, the musicianship, imagination, and songwriting on Rise to Offend are in critical condition, their pulse hinting at life with an occasional blip of the flatline.
While their hearts were in the right place, Rise to Offend still clings to second shelf standards, peering down at the supreme mess of the third tier.