ANVIL – This Is Thirteen

ANVIL - This Is Thirteen
  • 8.5/10
    ANVIL - This Is Thirteen - 8.5/10


Vh1 Classic Records
Release date: September 15, 2009

User Review
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How many Metal bands do you know that have been around for over thirty years and are still stuck at the newly formed/starving/looking to make it big stage? There probably aren’t that many if any at all. Just about every band goes through this as they strive to make a name for themselves hoping to put their signature on a big-time record-label contract promising them the world.

How many Metal fans still have a recollection of Anvil? “Hmm…I know I’ve heard that name before,” “wow, are they still around,” “do they have something new coming out?,” “ya know, I have something by them but it’s really old,” are probably some of the responses you would get if that question was thrown out there. For Anvil, it’s always been about the music. They could care less if they perform for three people in a small room or a huge arena with seventy-thousand or more fans; they just love to play for the sake of playing and making music they love.

At this point in their career, it would be just as easy to start over and get signed by any record company out there looking for new faces or an act they haven’t seen or heard before. Here lies the problem… Anvil isn’t new and they are very much recognizable, they have been around for thirty-six years give or take. Why would someone want to start over when so much time and energy has been dedicated to something they built and still love to do?

All of a sudden the name Anvil is being seen and heard all over the place again which is music to the ears (no pun intended) of their devoted fans. Much of this new-famed notoriety can be attributed to the making of Anvil! The Story of Anvil. It is a documentary of the band that has just been released on October 6, 2009. It was made by a long-time friend of the band (who used to be an average fan in the crowd back in the old days), director and screenwriter Sacha Gervasi, who from 300+ hours of film material (from late 2005 to 2007) was able to condense into 80 minutes his masterpiece depicting Anvil.

When speaking to individuals or groups of people familiar with Anvil and the music they have produced over the years, it is commonplace to hear, even in the most intimate of conversations, that Anvil’s best work came very early on in their career. Metalheads still revere Metal On Metal (’82) and Forged In Fire (’83) as the band’s best material. The producer of those two “classic” albums was Chris Tsangarides.

Since then, Anvil (as a whole) or members of Anvil did the honors on the remainder of their discography. Even Steve (a.k.a. Lips), guitarist and vocalist for the band and one of the original founding members has said on many occasion that Anvil had lost its appeal over the years due to the “shit sounding albums” and lack of management. What it came down to was Lips doing anything and everything that came his way if it dealt with Anvil in any way, shape, or form. That’s quite a bit to throw at someone without any help all the while holding down a job and raising a family. Remember he’s 53 years of age and still going strong. But you know what, Lips would do it again in a heartbeat and want no credit for it, that’s the type of person he is. He does it because he loves Metal; loves to play it, make it, and produce it.

For the first time in a long, long time the band is headed in the right direction. Realizing it was time to get back to the roots of what made them Anvil, they realized it was time to get Chris Tsangarides back and work on a new release that will knock the socks off of anyone who listens to it. The proof is in the final product and this new product, titled This Is Thirteen, hit the shelves on September 15, 2009. There are thirteen tracks (not including the bonus track), hence the clever title.

With eager anticipation it finally happened… the first few notes come roaring through the amps sounding fuckin’ heavy as hell and as if you are getting bombarded from all sides. Opening with the title track was a brilliant move, not only did it set the tone early of what was yet to come, it fortified the fact that Anvil is back and better than ever. The song is so damn heavy it almost doesn’t sound like the Anvil we all are used to hearing.

The next four songs, “Bombs Away,” “Burning Bridges,” “Ready to Fight,” and “Flying Blind” are all killer tunes that won’t let you catch your breath for a moment. With “Bombs Away” you will be blown away by the bass playing of Glenn Five. Then on “Ready to Fight” Robb takes control as his double-bass drumming is jaw-dropping. The bass riff on “Room #9” has something to it that makes you just love it even though there isn’t anything too extravagant to it. Then you have such great titles as “Axe to Grind,” “Feed the Greed,” and “Big Business” which all have messages, subliminal or not, to the point perhaps, but they are being told for a reason. “Should’ A Would’ A Could’ A” starts out with this double-bass barrage that Robb does so well and incorporates into most of this track. It’s another catchy tune just like “Feed the Greed.” “Game Over” is a cool sounding tune that has a little funky beat to it and the bass playing by Glenn is what makes this song. It is one of the better tunes with a rocking beat. There is also a bonus track on the CD titled “Thumb Hang” that the band wrote believe it or not back in the early days when they first formed the band but never recorded it. Anvil thought it would be a nice treat to finally put it out there for its fans.

As far as Lips is concerned, lets just say this for now, his voice sounds better than ever on these tracks. Was it Tsangarides that made him sound so good? Possibly, but only a live performance will tell. His guitar playing is perfect for Anvil-type songs. He can go into a solo at any time while playing and make it fit and sound damn good no matter the circumstance. Now that there is only one guitarist since Ivan Hurd left the band, Lips must do the work of two guitarists and he manages to pull it off with ease.

So go see the band when they come around. They would be honored to see all of their fans again in the audience. After touring in England they will be back for the US leg in most of January and part of February next year.


  • George Fustos

    George was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has engineering degrees in Chemical and Electrical Engineering. He favors Metal, Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Blues, and even some Jazz and Motown (depending on the tune). He used to dabble with the bass quite some time ago. His most influential bassists are Jaco, Billy Sheehan, Stu Hamm, Geddy Lee, and John Entwistle (RIP Ox). Band-wise he's really into Rush, Tool, early Metallica, Pink Floyd (including Waters and Gilmour as solo artists), The Who, Iced Earth, Iron Maiden, Halford, Joe Satriani, certain Judas Priest, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins (Blues guitarist), Motörhead, and a German band called Skew Siskin that Lemmy says in an interview as being "the best band out there today."

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