ANVIL – ‘Legal at Last’ review

Groups that get better with age…..really?

Last month I saw a young heavy metal band at Live Evil festival, and remember finding it difficult to find a point of reference for them. It was driving me nuts for a while. How the hell then, did the sound of the new 2020 ANVIL album ‘Legal at Last‘, a band probably twice their age, become such a good comparison for what a bunch of twenty-something Swedes were doing?

The video for title track Legal at Last

ANVIL have been going since the early 80s, and this release is as good as anything they’ve ever done, but to my ears, this is them doing it the best ever. A bit like the very much likeable muscle-rock of Thor, an undoubted influence on the band I saw at Live Evil, is it a Canadian thing, this kind of heavy but very well played, straight forward approach music, with clear vocals and a simple message? And maybe your world just needs a bit of oafish singalong metal right now?

I guess listening to Legal At Last takes you back to the time when eighties heavy metal and punk rock shared a kind of mutual understanding. Tempered as it is by older age and all the irony that goes with it, lyrically and to some extent sound-wise I am also reminded of Aussies Cosmic Psychos‘ latter output, in spirit at least – so it is not surprising to put this CD in the drawer and hear a can of beer being opened at the start of an album full of sing-alongs!

How does the album go? Well after opener ‘Legal at Last‘, which I think should surely get some kind of play in the next Trailer Park Boys series, track two is an anthem. Track three is also an anthem – ‘Chemtrails – poisoning the air, Chemtrails…you know its not fair!’. Track four Gasoline is a little Voivod-esque and chuggy. Track five ‘I’m Alive’ is an anthem. Glass House is an anthem with a chorus that sounds like one of the best of BLIND GUARDIAN. Food for The Vulture is ‘Overkill’ drumming and an anthemic chorus. Do you get the picture?

The production is current and powerful. Yes, this is all high quality stuff and would be great to see live with a few beers. Absolutely solid musicianship, and cool solos. They have eighteen albums already so there’s a lot to investigate if you only remember the first three ( which I would have completely ignored when they came out as I would have been listening to Discharge ) or maybe none at all? And that’s not even counting the documentary! Time to catch up if you are behind.

Lemmy rated them – what more do you need? If you fancy a good heavy night out in the style of all those eighties bands like THOR then this is the 2020 album you should be playing!

ANVIL are touring the world right now, so go and see them!

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