Anvil

Speed of Sound

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Canadian metal lifers Anvil were enjoying a small resurgence at the turn of the century. The group was in the middle of their most prolific release schedule since their early-'80s heyday, when discs like Metal on Metal were garnering serious press and respect within the metal community. It seemed possible that the Toronto outfit might break into the big time and join metal heroes like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept, Metallica, and only a few others who were selling out concert tours without the benefit of any radio airplay or mainstream publicity. But as metal moved away from the margins and into pop consciousness, Anvil lost step, and through a series of bad business moves and bad records, the band fell out of favor in what was becoming mainstream metal. Then, in the late '90s, a lineup finally solidified after many member changes and Anvil released a string of decent, but dated recordings that were basically ignored (especially in America, were the group's '80s style had fallen desperately out of favor). Their audience might be small, but judging by the amount of material that Anvil managed to release so many years after their initial success, the group's fans were still loyal and that loyalty was rewarded generously on Speed of Sound. Most importantly, the 2000 Hypnotic release is heavy, which is surely a priority to Anvil fans. Songs like "Park That Truck" demonstrate a Motörhead-like speed and relentlessness that's refreshing and almost timeless from a metal perspective. While Anvil might have been out of step with the times, this record demonstrates that the band's metal instincts are healthy and reliable.

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