If there's a song that sums up the journey Anvil have gone on, it's "Time Shows No Mercy," the ninth track of the band's 15th album, Hope in Hell. When frontman Steve "Lips" Kudlow sings "Hold onto your youth, you're young as you feel and that's the truth/Fight the good fight, do it long and do it right," it's clear why the band, who always seemed to just miss their shot at getting big, are still down in the heavy metal trenches. Anvil are a band that seems incapable of hanging up their guitars and calling it a day, an ethos that makes them a bit of an oddity in the current culture of instant, ephemeral fame. What's not an oddity, though, is Hope in Hell, a solid collection of the kind of classic speed metal that Anvil have been trying to make a name for themselves with for 35 years now. While there are a handful of retro metal bands trying to revive the sounds of speed metal and early thrash, it's hard to beat the original when it comes to authenticity. Where other bands might try to overplay things, Anvil keep things simple. Fifteen albums deep into their career, these guys don't have to prove to people they can play, freeing them to simply write hard-hitting rippers like "Bad Ass Rock N Roll," a song that sets out the band's to desire to rock, pure and simple, and succeeds on all fronts. At the end of the day, Hope in Hell is an Anvil record, so if these guys haven't somehow already charmed you into liking them, this probably isn't going to do the trick. That said, if you're already a fan of the quality work these journeyman metalheads have been putting out for over three decades, you better make some room on your CD shelf.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney