Say what you want about the documentary “Anvil! The Story of Anvil” and the recent success that has come with it, but Anvil is a great band. Despite being plagued with problems throughout their career, they have released a few all-time classic records, with other great ones mixed in. In fact, they’ve really only released 2 or 3 weak records throughout their career, and even those albums had their moments. Anvil’s 14th album, “Juggernaut of Justice”, was an inspired, hard-rocking album with numerous songs that were quality headbanging material. It is only appropriate that their newest album, “Hope In Hell”, follows suit, as it delivers pretty much entirely what you’d expect from the band.
The opening title track is one of their slower doomier songs, not unlike “Forged In Fire” or “This Is Thirteen”. New bass player Sal Italiano brings a killer bass line that ends up being the foundation for the riffs in the rest of the song. As with the prior album, track 2 is reserved for one of the fastest tracks, which provides plenty of energy. Like many Anvil albums, this one is driven by the combination of Lips’ musicianship and Robb Reiner’s interesting drumming. Guitar solos are plentiful and in high shredding order. Lips doesn’t really make any noticeable changes to his old-school style. It’s somewhat similar to the guitar work in a band like UFO or Scorpions, but in a more metal context. His vocals retain their unique sound, and luckily, his voice isn’t sounding any worse with age. He tends to stay in that somewhat upper-range without being cringe-inducing. As for Reiner, this album is another good performance for him, although I don’t think it’s his best. In past records, he would use so many busy fills that it almost felt like they never stopped, but that seems less prevalent on “Hope In Hell”. This is probably a good thing for most listeners, but I personally love to hear him go all out (and he still does at times, just not as often). At this point, I would say Anvil’s only weak point is the lack of interesting lyrics. To be fair, Anvil have had this issue in the past (“Waiting”, “Pro Wrestling”), but they’ve also been quite capable of producing lyrical masterpiece’s (“Free As The Wind”). At this point, the band tends to rely on cliché’s that they combine with their general life experiences to tell their stories. Ultimately, however, the lyrics are overshadowed by the quality of the riffs.
“Hope In Hell” is exactly what I want from Anvil at this point. The band has become like Motorhead: they pump out consistent, enjoyable records. If you expecting another “Metal On Metal” you will be disappointed, but “Hope In Hell” is a solid addition to their legacy. Buy this album and support great metal bands like Anvil!
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"Hope In Hell"
"Eat Your Words"
"Badass Rock 'n Roll"
4.0/5 or 80%.
Written by Scott