Review: ANVIL Forges New Fires With Hope In Hell
ANVIL’s long-awaited new album Hope In Hell is due out on May 24th in Germany via SPV / Steamhammer, the rest of Europe on the 27th and the following day (May 28th) in North America via The End. The 13-song effort will be available in four different formats: as a limited-edition digipak including two bonus tracks, jewel case CD, double gatefold orange colored vinyl LP, and as a download.
BraveWords’ “Metal” Tim Henderson has offered up the following thoughts on Hope In Hell in his 8.5/10 review below:
Although there’s been much back and forth banter between ANVIL leader Steve “Lips” Kudlow and I over the years regarding the band’s output after Forged In Fire, that’s water under the bridge at this stage in the game, and Hope In Hell erases any sour taste in the mouth. The three-piece—with recent addition bassist Sal Italiano—have a helluva lot of people in their corner as the feel-good story of being committed to metal complete with all the highs ‘n’ lows resonates. But that’s not why Hope In Hell is so good. All the planets are aligned. Anvil have nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain. And man, the material truly shines on album number 15. Let’s give it a walk-through:
The title track kicks things off with a slowly increasing mechanized sound as you are forced to stand at attention, Anvil plotting course for the next 50-plus minutes with a slow but infectious riff, as there is no ‘hope in hell’ you’re escaping from this onslaught.
Lips’ machine gun riffs attack on ‘Eat Your Words’ as he madly tries to keep up with drum whiz Robb Reiner’s galloping double-bass attack. Classic Anvil that showcases producer Bob Marlette’s (BLACK SABBATH, ALICE COOPER) genius behind the board. The crisp, clean clarity on Hope In Hell shines like a finely polished anvil.
‘Through With You’ is reminiscent of the overlooked near-balladry/harmonies of yesteryear like ‘Stop Me’ and ‘Never Deceive Me’, brilliantly laid-out and Lips’ pristine and well thought-out riffs shine while he’s spitting “see you next Tuesday” with venom. Love it!
‘The Fight Is Never Won’ is another chugger, an anthem about their plight if there ever was one, reminiscent of another great trio (MOTÖRHEAD) with its ‘Overkill’-isms. Think ‘Shadow Zone’ and you’ll get the point; exhausting but invigorating.
Why is it that whenever a cowbell is used the entire focus is on that moment? And ‘Pay The Toll’ finds Reiner using it at liberty. And yes, Anvil have paid the toll for rock ‘n’ roll since their name was LIPS.
On ‘Flying’, the razor-sharp rhythms would make Malcolm Young turn his head and once again Marlette has harnessed the band into a smooth-running juggernaut, Anvil’s balls-out energy and focus tempered. The track ebbs and flows until yet another well-thought-out solo appears, with Lips’ imagination demonstrated as far-reaching.
‘Call Of Duty’ finds Reiner engaged in the discipline of timing—the drummer has always had the prowess of figuring out when to fill and maybe more importantly, when not. Images of ‘Forged In Fire’ marche through your membrane as Lips’ leads pulsate madly as the Anvil faithful raise their fists towards the heavens.
‘Badass Rock N Roll’ is a bar-room bruiser full of piss ‘n’ vinegar, while ‘Shut The Fuck Up’ is just plain vicious, Lips venting to the extreme. Whereas ‘Hard Wired’ is a groovy audience sing-along if there ever was one.
‘Time Shows No Mercy’ is more mid-tempo Anvil fair, something that could fit on Hard N’ Heavy but a few notches above in songwriting maturity. “Just live for your dreams,” Lips proclaims, yet another instance of self-reflection.
‘Mankind Machine’ has a ‘Winged Assassins’ feel to it, a chugging beast ready to swoop down and swallow you whole, with nothing left for the scavengers. Once again both Reiner and Lips are face-to-face, marching to the beat of each other’s drum, so to speak.
‘Fire At Will’ closes off the album with another infectious chorus line, bombastic approach with “hunger deep inside.”
Hope In Hell walks the walk and talks the talk. Nobody in heavy metal sounds like Anvil. Period.