Review by Luke ‘Jesus’ Helstrip
Let me first off start by saying this is the first time I have ever listened to Anvil properly. I heard of them a few years back, just never had a massive incentive to listen… I regret that now. This Canadian trio have been around since 1978 and have influenced some of my favourite bands like Metallica and Megadeth. Juggernaut of Justice is the band’s 14th studio album after This Is Thirteen, released in 2007.
Let’s start off with the good stuff shall we? Guitar tones on this album change quite a few times, which gives the tracks a different feel to one another, for example Juggernaut Of Justice the opening track of the album has a very similar guitar tone the Testament’s Formation of Damnation album. It gives that opening track a really sharp feel and really catches your attention in the first few seconds of the album. That tone contrasts massively to the muddier sound of Conspiracy, which fits with the slower tempo of the track. Every song has a really catchy vibe to it too, which never fails to draw you in; so much so even though I have only listened 5 or 6 times I know massive sections of the songs and can’t help singing along, like the chorus of Paranormal. Drums also sound really thick giving a great backbone when combined with the bass lines to the songs on which Steve “Lips” Kudlow sticks a cool little lick over at any given opportunity.
Saying that there are some points of the album that just don’t float my boat. I know that these guys have been going for many many years, so it’s far beyond me to tell them how to make music. However, I would love to hear more aggression from “Lips” I think a slightly more gruff voice would compliment some of the heavier riffs much better and give them much more of a punch to the listener. Also there seems to be a certain guitar phrase that is repeated numerous times throughout album, obviously with slight variations, but to me in one album the songs should have a nice clear contrast to one another and not share markedly similar parts as it just makes it sound as if they are running out of ideas and just need to fill the gap between points.
So what’s my final verdict on this album after those statements? Well, I love this album. Yes there is slight flaws that I have highlighted but the album isn’t like other metal albums coming out with modern bands. It’s not 45 minutes of insanely complex rhythmic patterns, time signature and solo’s that burn out your retina’s if you see them played live. What Anvil have done is produce a genuinely fun album to listen to. You can clearly see they make the music they want to make and enjoying it, this is no clearer in my favourite track of the album Swing Thing which is the funkiest metal track I think I have ever heard, a 3 minute instrumental including brass instruments and an awesome solo. After 14 albums Anvil obviously still have many ideas and an urge to make music…
Let’s hope that they don’t stop.
Rating – ****