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Hope for a decent album dies in Hell - 58%

slayrrr666, May 30th, 2013

The fifteenth full-length effort from Canadian metallers Anvil, “Hope in Hell,” is one more testament to the band’s undying ethic of producing classic rock ‘n’ roll with a metal attitude, but that never does anything more than present this as another middle-of-the-road effort.

One of the main issues with the album is immediately found in the first half of the album, where the majority of the songs placed here are seemingly mid-tempo efforts that aren’t all that impressive. Alternating between a plodding pace and a chugging mid-tempo effort, the songs are mostly devoid of energy and manage to come off as simplistic, lifeless efforts. While there’s some fine moments spread throughout due to some overall above-average drumming that sticks out nicely, there’s rare moments within this where it rises above and sticks out and leaving the songs to rely solely on the riffing to stand out, which does it little favors. Alternating between the two tempos leaves no room for variation within the songs at all, and while great effort is made for the riffs to give off a sleazy, old-school metal vibe that has remained a band trademark since their inception, this makes for an altogether disorienting experience.

There’s very little difference to the second half of the album, which tends to follow the same formula found on the first half of mixing up the mid-tempo efforts with the faster songs, and the results are about the same in terms of good songs and bland ones. Mixing in the sleazy riffing style and more of a love for classic rock ‘n’ roll than traditional metal bands display, the quality slips when compared to the front part of the album where more metal was featured, even if it was a lackluster quality, and as a whole there’s some rather forgettable tracks there with really only one standing out as being impressive. As this manages to feature the traditional Anvil juvenility effort, it sinks even more due to the whole child-like atmosphere of the song that really doesn’t need to be featured in this stage of their career. Overall, this is where the majority of the album is lowered due to the bland songs and unnecessary childish track.

There’s not a whole lot of songs here that really stick out due to the rather pedestrian writing. The title track’s plodding pace works in this instance only due to the moody atmosphere created with the vocals mixing splendidly with a decent central riff, creating a pretty decent effort. The same can’t be said for similar tracks ‘Through With You’ and ‘Call of Duty,’ both bland and mostly-forgettable chugging mid-tempo efforts with very little life or energy that recall the majority of the songs on here. The effort does contain a couple of faster stuff with ‘Eat Your Words’ and ‘The Fight Is Never Won,’ both containing chaotic proto-thrash riffing and faster paces with well-placed atmospheric interludes through those sleazy riffing, while ‘Pay the Toll’ and ‘Hard Wired’ are more of a classic rock ’n’ roll effort played in metal tones that’s reminiscent of their earlier days. ‘Flying’ and ‘Mankind Machine’ are both classic old-school metal with some aggressive riffing but the mid-tempo pace undoes them somewhat, while ‘Badass Rock ‘N’ Roll’ is a more energetic rocker with nice riffing. The rest of the songs aren't really worthwhile, a blend of bland metal or ridiculous rock trying to pass itself off as metal.

Overall, this isn’t all that great an effort and really shows the band as either being out of it altogether or just relying more on their laurels than anything else, a move that’s not a surprise at this state of their career but they should know better with what material they have presented here. A few decent songs here and a host of bland, lackluster mid-tempo efforts that veer more into classic rock than straight out-and-out heavy metal makes for a really uninvolving effort that sounds far better than expected due to a potent, charging production that gives everything a pretty clear sheen and mixing the guitars to give it a sleazy swagger that should really entice the old-school Anvil fans more than anything. Really, at this point, it’s all who’s going to buy into this one as lazy as the album is and who really should be looking into this one.