By Martin Popoff
Juggernaut of Justice
At this point, you either get Anvil or you don’t — you understand and appreciate the humanity, you live with the weaknesses because you’ve lived long enough with Anvil.
“Juggernaut Of Justice” is more of the same, but that “same” — those strengths — are amplified through a massive production job by Bob Marlette, which … I gotta give it to him. I’ve ripped on him for being a patch-job, hatchet-man, song doc in the past, but this is a perfect production for Anvil, featuring lots of bass, pounding bass drum and toms, a ton of sizzle, and then Lips’ blood-curdling, old-school thrash voice and his guitar mixed in perfectly, electrified. Surprised to see that Marlette’s name is not attached to the songwriting, though, because the songs are damn good, as well, soaked in power, groovy, sheets of sound, playing up the Who-like personalities of Lips as air-pushing Daltrey vocalist and Robb Reiner on drums, a ragged Keith Moon thrash-master, extending bars by a beat, beating the hell out of bars, one of the most distinctive stylists in … whatever this genre is: old-school speed metal mixed with thrash mixed with the dark end of power metal in the spirit of the hardest punks, like DOA.
And yeah, the band’s other positive in the individuality department has always been Lips’ vocals. Here, he’s all business, perhaps cognizant of how ferocious all the instrumentation is on this record, this being … well, probably the best since “Forged In Fire.” He’s mixed a bit back, as well, a wise move, ’cos that limits how much looking for metal cheese one can do, lyrics being a shortcoming, as well as the live show lately, given the bad choice of continuing with one guitarist.
But yeah, there’s a huge metal might to this thing, as well as an intriguing hardcore vibe once velocities pick up. Closes with a heavy metal jazz instrumental that’s a blast, most joyful, again, ’cos of the damn knob job on Reiner’s turbo drums. Yeesh.