Album: JUGGERNAUT OF JUSTICE
Label: The End Record
Track Listing: 1) Juggernaut of Justice 2) When Hell Breaks Loose 3) New Orleans Voodoo 4) On Fire 5) FuckenEh! 6) Turn it Up 7) This Ride 8) Not Afraid 9) Conspiracy 10) Running 11) Paranormal 12) Swing Thing
Upon hearing the name ‘Anvil’ some will either snigger at images of frontman, Lips, playing his guitar with a dildo before a festival audience in the eighties, or warm to the band that won so many hearts with their 2008 documentary Anvil: The Story of Anvil. The documentary in question was an unprecedented career revamp for a band that had been pretty much invisible for over twenty years. It showed the true dedication of a group that has struggled to be taken seriously, and revealed their die-hard passion and love for the music they create and the dream of being rock stars. However, all that hard work and relentless touring needs quality to back it up, and now more than ever the band need a solid album to prove their worth. With the first album since their award-winning film and the fourteenth record in their career, can Juggernaut of Justice make an impression upon today’s metalheads?
The record opens up strongly with the title track, When Hell Breaks Loose and New Orleans Voodoo all containing powerful riffs, flashy guitar solos and strong vocal performances. Anvil’s old-school thrash riffs sound particularly poignant thanks to the album’s great production, something that a lot of their later self-released records lacked. On Fire and FuckenEh! are respectable metal numbers, the latter a real live anthem (as the title suggests). The album dips significantly during the half-way point with Turn it Up and This Ride sounding like fillers, but Not Afraid, Conspiracy and Running succeed in reviving the tempo and maintaining the same quality as the opening numbers.
Paranormal almost threatens to outstay its welcome at over seven minutes long. It’s a slice of doom metal that sees the band tread back into the realms of unintentional parody with Lips’ vocal lines sounding like something out of a cheesy horror b-movie. Things at this point needed to be uplifted by another thrash gem; unfortunately the band had other ideas. Instrumental album closer Swing Thing feels completely out of place with brass sections playing a surprisingly heavy role. Despite the randomness of the finale, it only adds to the charm of the record which contains all of what’s great about Anvil: full on metal and passionate musicianship held together with an admirable sense of humour.
For fans of the band, Juggernaut of Justice most certainly won’t disappoint. As for newcomers, this album is well worth checking out. It’s the solid effort that the band needed and although nothing on the album particularly stands out as being a classic, it still delivers a level of consistency that makes it an enjoyable listen. With the majority of Anvil’s back catalogue being reissued apart from their sole classic Metal on Metal, this is a good place to start your collection.
It’s hard to say whether Anvil will be seen as a credible force in today’s metal scene, but with the Big Four touring together and revamping thrash metal around the globe, this is the best time for them to step back into the spotlight. Forget everything you previously associated with the band: the dildos, the laughable stage gear and the comedic song titles, and approach Juggernaut of Justice with an open mind. If you do that, chances are you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what is a commendable album.
1) Juggernaut of Justice
2) When Hell Breaks Loose
3) Not Afraid
Reviewed by: Daniel Aston, 01/08/2011