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Hands up who'd never heard of Anvil pre-movie? And hands up those of you who'd either presumed the band long defunct or unaware of their activities during the past couple of decades pre-movie? I hold my hand up to the latter as I'm certain many a metal fan would for Anvil's revival, or rather the revival in their popularity, has snow-balled since the release of Sacha Gervasi's critically acclaimed documentary film was released three years ago. But here they return to do what they do with yet another alliteratively titled new album, 'Juggernaut of Justice'. It's been a longtime coming as I recall frontman Lips referring to its title, and speaking about the nature of the new material, in an interview I did with him nearly two years back. And it's undoubtedly the most important album Anvil have released for years as the world's eyes are now on the band, such is the globally widespread success of the movie. That's not to say that every one of the millions of people who've seen the movie will continue to check out what Anvil have done since and what they'll continue to do (until the advent of a film sequel), but it's a certainty that the Canadians would have garnered attention from a significantly larger amount of people than before. And I can happily report that 'Juggernaut of Justice' is the best sounding, most energetically infectious Anvil material to date. Or certainly that I've ever heard. For starters, it shits on its predecessor, 'This is Thirteen'. It's almost as if the momentum gathered by, and since, the movie has propelled Anvil into upping their game for the retro-thrash raw energy on tracks such as 'When All Hell Breaks Loose', 'On Fire' and 'Running' sees the band at their most musically ferocious. Vocally, Lips delivers his best ever, most consistent singing performance throughout the record, and his guitar riffs/leads are all executed with biting precision, aided by a fine production and mix. Robb Reiner's drumming is as astoundingly brilliant as ever, and particularly breathtaking on instrumental album closer 'Swing Thing', a metal/swing/jazz fusion of sorts. Few play drum fills like Reiner. Glen Five's bass pounds away competently enough underneath Lips' riffs but it's Kudlow and Reiner who are stars of the show here with their respective performances. If you previously didn't like Anvil, then 'Juggernaut of Justice' is extremely unlikely to change your opinion as there's no drastic departure in style here (apart from the aforementioned 'Swing Thing'), but everything sounds so much better and fresh. A remarkable achievement this far into their career.
Review by Mark Holmes
20th June 2011
1) Juggernaut of Justice
2) When All Hell Breaks Loose
3) New Orleans Voodoo
4) On Fire
5) Fuckeneh!
6) Turn It Up
7) The Ride
8) Not Afraid
9) Conspiracy
10) Running
11) Paranormal; 12) Swing Thing
"...'Juggernaut of Justice' is the best sounding, most energetically infectious Anvil material to date."