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I clearly remember the day that my buddy bought the Anvil Bitch Rise to Offend cassette way back in 1986. I also recall I bought Bathory’s The Return that day and was elated to have finally found that elusive cassette! With Walkmans affixed to our heads, we ventured home on the bus, which was a long trip from downtown Chicago to our neighborhood. I was completely mesmerized that a band that had such great musical ideas would suffer such insipid production, but Bathory was “it” back then! On the flipside, my buddy shoved his headphones on to my ears and said I simply had to hear this great band. As I further recall, the band was singing about maggots in their hair followed with rousing “yeah, yeah, yeahs” that bordered on comical. They had no production (though it was leaps and bounds better than the Bathory assaulting my ears), no discernible edge or unique vibe – I just didn’t get them at all, and I’m still not crazy about that album, even though I do own it. After that release, the Pennsylvania band slipped into metal obscurity, presumably for good. A couple of member surfaced in the band Dominance years later, but nothing else was heard from the Anvil Bitch camp.
Imagine my surprise to find that they have self-released an EP called Sanctify last year that is surprisingly good. They seemed to find the formula some 20+ years later that was missing back in the day, even though this is hardly a ground-breaking release. It’s solid and has far better production than the original LP. Riding the New Wave of Eighties Heavy Metal crest, the EP is three songs of older, wiser and better Anvil Bitch that might do fine this time around if they can put something together for a full-length release and grab a tour with some other 80s bands that deserve a better legacy than just a footnote on Encyclopedia Metallum. Vocalist Gary Capriotti’s vocals are reminiscent of the typical controlled yell that a good deal of thrash bands had, so don’t expect a Ride-era Hetfield or a Black Metal-era Cronos. The moody D-drop tuning is okay and doesn’t sound like most mallcore jargon that seems to think that it’s “heavy” to drop all tuning to C – without talent and catchy tunes, you can tune the guitar to Heaven’s harps and it will still suck! It’s just a decent vocal and decent music over some good tunes. I think it’s a decent ride for three songs that can crush, especially the title track. Nothing new or unique, but for that old-school feel without a myriad of filler it’s worth the effort to seek it out.
(Originally written for http://www.metalpsalter.com)