Anvil – Hope in Hell (The End Records)Sunday, 9th June 2013
Equally as cartoonish as 2011’s Juggernaut of Justice, Anvil’s 15th album Hope in Hell puts on the same sort of lovable-idiot-metal display that the Canucks have come to be known for. It’s like if you don’t want to think and are in need for some nursery rhyme lyrics about every over-used topic this style has presented, then Hope in Hell is your ticket. The only saving grace is the fact Lips Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner have come to master the art of writing stout, energetic songs without sounding too generic. They leave that up to the lyrics.
The vacuum in which Anvil operates is no secret – their sound and approach is so mid-80’s that they manage to out-do every would-be retro metal going right now. Sonically, Hope in Hell sounds great, probably because Bob Marlette (Alice Cooper, Black Stone Cherry, etc.) manned the production boards, and Kudlow doles out some pretty nifty riff-action on “Eat Your Words” and the grinding “Shut the Fuck Up,” which could very well be the dumbest song written by a band in 2013 not named Attila. But, the riffs rule. Guess that’s all that counts.
Regardless of how you view Anvil, they’re still around, very much likeable, and have deservedly reaped the rewards from their award-winning 2009 documentary. Hope in Hell is rife with every ill-begotten idea known to the metal-verse (not counting beatdowns, although that would be awesome if there were some here), but you can’t help but side with Anvil. They couldn’t turn anyone off if they tried…and from the looks of the cover, they are really trying.