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Thrash Metal That's like a Dog on a Leash - 70%

EvilAllen, October 10th, 2020

At the point of writing this review, Anvil Bitch were (yes, I said "were", as in, not an active group anymore, ya dig?!) an American thrash metal band. And well, to be totally honest with anyone reading this, I guess this particular album just barely makes it through the pathway of being just that. I mean, sure, it does have the characteristics of thrash metal, but of the "thinnest" and "sluggish", not to mention "laziest", forms of that. I mean, this sounds pretty "tame". But it's not entirely bad. It's just far from being a memorable release, that's all. It's slightly below average for me. But as an entry-level release, it could have went either way.

The production is everything, but crisp. I mean, come-on, this is like, low, low-budget lo-fi right now. But without any audio distortion. It just really flat, like beer that's no longer enjoyable. However, I don't exactly mind this flaw during this particular time. I could at least crank the volume and it wouldn't feel overpowering to my ears doing so. Because with the production being so fucking flat, with louder volume, it wouldn't change the fact that it still sounds excessively flat. So, it's like making something bigger, without the beef being enhanced, if...that...makes...sense...?

Never heard of this band until today, so that's why I'm writing a review about their album. I thought I might as well see why this record doesn't do so well. And honestly, it's mainly, for me, the production is the biggest issue. But again, I don't mind that. It's just that, even for an album of this era, you could at least expect a little bit more from it, right? The instrumentals have no in-depth sound. So, what am I supposed to say about it? I guess, well, very little. I guess the rhythm and leads have some creative themes in them. But it's not exactly like they've brought anything new to the thrash metal scene, realistically. Riffs are typical, but the song tempos are rather slower than traditional thrash metal. I think "melodic thrash metal" fits the band's status a lot better, honestly.

The bass is so garbage in this release, it's like hearing a boombox from Japan while being in North America, that's how I describe it. It's like a distant form of noise, rather than being a consistent thing in the release itself. Kind of sad how much potential was lost during this record's production. The drums sound like sandbags being shot with a lot of bullet holes from the Cold War era. Really dull-sounding. A better example would be a brand-new, non-sharpened pencil and stabbing it into someone's ankle, almost like how it was in Evil Dead, sometime in the 1980's, or whatever. If you need a better example, just take silverware and bang them on empty water jugs. The vocals are typical, too. More in the high-range. But the vocals themselves sound more like classic heavy metal or even power metal (with a scratchy-like tone in some cases, too), compared to the thrash metal genre. Kind of strange. But it's my opinion, why you gettin' so triggered, huh?

The most original thing this album has, is the artwork and the style of it. I really like the creative-style of, what appears to be, an oil-based painting of a young child in her youth, wielding an...axe? Gee, she probably doesn't even have the physical strength to even swing it toward anyone, even if it was only a six-pound blade. I seriously miss the old-school artistic-like visuals that painters or illustrators used for metal bands, back in the day. Now, it's all photoshop and powerless idiots who sit on their ass for a living and let the computer tank-in all the, so-called "creative abuse". And what's even sadder about that is, people these days get paid more for doing less. Back at a time when artworks where being made like this, you'd get paid much less for the great effort. Now, we're lucky to see even five people around who even know about this release or the cover-art that came with it. Sad times we live in, I blame technology and the people backing it.

In a nutshell, I do enjoy this album more than I dislike it. I think the effort was present, but wasn't executed nearly as well as it could have been. I think everyone involved in the album's release, did in fact, have good intentions at the time, but it just didn't playout too hot. Which is a bit of a shame. I wished I could like this more, but hey, it's a decent B-class release, for those of you who may want to try listening to this record. Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention this earlier...but...uh... This album hasn't had a review in almost ten years, so I wanted to give it one for that reason as well. Not that you care, but I do. So, don't be rude about it.

Yeah, I think I'd probably buy this in a CD store, but it's probably been out of print for decades. So, why bother? At least YouTube can provide those newly-added "Topic" tracks that most bands seem to feature these days, kind of cool. But I'll probably forget about this band eventually, even though I thought it wasn't that bad at all. Let's recap, flat production, decent creativity, good ideas, poor execution, but the effort was at least attempting to be applied, just not well enough. OK, the end...

An ok album, with some serious flaws - 55%

mwarner6, April 4th, 2011

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.

The everyman, thrashing into obscurity - 70%

autothrall, January 7th, 2010

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


Production killed this release - 70%

cravingforvenom, October 9th, 2008

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.

Average and Generic Thrash - 55%

Mungo, January 27th, 2007

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.

Clinging to the second shelf - 62%

Gutterscream, May 23rd, 2005
Written based on this version: 1986, 12" vinyl, New Renaissance Records (Colored vinyl)

Anvil Bitch’s then-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 just about everything else. Second, it isn’t really all that destructive.

With their single “To the Grave” on the 1986 New Renaissance 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 (1983 to about 1986) 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 in on what’s average about this lp, let’s look at the brighter side. Some aspects trying to rescue it from mediocrity are most everything in “Lie Through Your Teeth” except for 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 found 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 it eludes a hefty portion of these twelve tracks, most noticeable the central rhythms of “Argue With a Sick Mind”, “Time to Die”, “Anvil Bitch” and “Vengeance of the Sword”. Chunkier guitar fuzz undoubtedly would've thickened the lp’s grit despite the derelict mix job thanks to Dark Audio Studios, but wouldn’t save it from mostly run of the mill songsculpting. Songwriting, married to imagination, rears songs. An uneventful marriage = uneventful songs = uneventful album. While Philadelphia isn’t the thrash hotbed of LA or NY, is Cappriotti 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, with pulses 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 and lucky to be peering down at the supreme mess of the third tier.