Anvil

Anthology

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Often referred to as Canada's answer to Motörhead, Anvil's lengthy career (20 years and counting) can hardly be deemed anywhere near as influential or consistently excellent as that of Lemmy and company; indeed, this would be a tall order for just about any heavy metal band on the planet. And yet, like Motörhead, Anvil has always stuck to its guns with commendable stubbornness, and, in the process, outlasted hundreds of supposedly superior competitors with its deceptively simple, ever-frenetic style of thrash metal. Perpetually anchored front and back by the dynamic duo of vocalist/guitarist Steve "Lips" Kudlow and drummer extraordinaire Robb Reiner, Anvil has also endured its fair share of hardships, and it's no small wonder that 1999's Anthology manages to sample at least one song from each of the nine studio albums (and one live set) leading up to its release. Admittedly, this completist-appeasing strategy is instantly challenged by the fact that the group's first three albums of seminal proto-thrash provide ten out of the 18 tracks collected here ("Metal on Metal," "Free as the Wind," "Jackhammer," "Mothra," and many more), leaving the remaining six LPs to fight over the remaining scraps with one or two submissions apiece ("Smokin' Green," "Bushpig," "Blood on Ice," etc.). But, in the absence of another viable option (1985's Backwaxed collection concentrated on rarities and leftovers), first-time visitors looking to sample as complete a cross section of Anvil's output as possible can do no better than this fun, raucous album.

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