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"Meh"tal on Metal - 65%

enshinkarateman, January 26th, 2010

I'd only heard of Anvil a few times before "Anvil! The Story of Anvil" came out, and every time I've checked them out since then, I've found them to be pretty lame, largely due to the vocals of Steve "Lips" Kudlow. However, I've always acknowledged that my opinion can be changed, so I think it's time for me to give their most popular album, "Metal On Metal" a fair shot and review it.

The first track is the title track, and, despite a strong intro, quickly becomes unbearably repetitive. The titular phrase is repeated at the start of every verse, and it gets old pretty fast. The chorus is unremarkable, nothing too different from your usual '80's fare, and as a result, I have no clue why this track is held in such high regard. For one of their more "famous" songs, "Metal on Metal" doesn't give too good of a first impression, and is largely the reason why I ignored Anvil all this time.

Luckily, the second track, "Mothra" is a much, much better track, and it surprisingly rocks pretty hard. I have to admit, I was not expecting this song to be so good, especially at the section that starts about three-and-a-half minutes into the song. It's a very good speed metal song with some great drumming from Robb Reiner, who throws in some surprisingly fast (for the time) beats that were much faster than what a lot of heavy metal bands (save for Venom) were doing at the time, and for that, he should be commended.

In fact, the deeper we get into the album, it's looking like my initial impression of Anvil was wrong, as their brand of AC/DC-influenced heavy metal is delivered very energetically on several tracks, and the guitar solos are all exceptional.

However, this does not mean that "Metal On Metal" is perfect. Lowlights include the third track, "Stop Me", which is a very commercial track that honestly sounds like a heavier, less vocally talented Def Leppard. The only thing the track really has going for it is the guitar solos, the best of which starts at the three minute mark and lasts for about thirty seconds, and is just enough to make the track not completely useless. This was probably Anvil's attempt at a radio hit, and I think we all know how Anvil's attempt at courting fame would turn out. The lyrics are also pretty awful in general, as most of them (even in otherwise good songs like "Heat Sink") are your typical rock and roll cliches revolving around sex and love. Furthermore, the album started to lose me at around track six, though it does pick up at track nine and finishes the album strongly with "666", an homage to metal's favorite number, although it's not nearly as good as Iron Maiden's "The Number of the Beast', which was released the same year.

Overall, I can definitely say that I'd misjudged Anvil based on the weaknesses of a few tracks. However, there are still a large amount of flaws present on the album, namely in the lyrics and vocals, and several songs that drag on for too long and have uninteresting riffs ("Tag Team"). "Metal on Metal" gets an average rating from me, because the good songs roughly balance out the bad, and while you may listen to "Mothra" or "March of the Crabs" several times in a row, you'll have no desire to her "Stop Me" more than once or twice. I would recommend this to fans of classic metal as well as fans of AC/DC, as they'd be more inclined to like Anvil's odes to sex and rock than your typical thrash metal fanatic. Anyone looking for heavier stuff should probably stay away, unless you're curious about the origins of thrash metal, which this album did play a part in, as shown by some of the speedier moments on the album. I would suggest paying about $8 for it, since anything higher probably wouldn't be worth your money.

Highlights: "March of the Crabs", "Mothra", "Tease Me, Please Me"

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