Anvil – This Is Thirteen – Review


This Is Thirteen (VH1 Classic)
By Mike Delano

Anvil may offer up some simple meat and potatoes thrash, but it’s impossible to deny the conviction behind it. This Is Thirteen, so named because it’s a cool evil number and because it’s unbelievably the band’s 13th studio offering, mostly delivers the proficiency one would expect from a veteran band. But there are plenty of surprises that elevate it above the realm of predictability. The title track has a full-on Sabbath vibe, and “Bombs Away” has some memorably funky bass work a la “Peace Sells,” while aping Sodom’s militaristic fury with heat-seeking precision. “Flying Blind” has all of the enthusiasm behind Maiden’s aerial epics “Aces High” or “Tailgunner,” if not those songs’ expert execution, and “Game Over” livens up the lesser second half of the album with a machine gun swagger that would make Motörhead proud. Most of all, the guys never forget the power of a good riff or good hook for technical showpieces or moody experiments, making Anvil infinitely more appealing than today’s retro trash revival bands. Everything here adheres to a very specific metal template, but it’s the best one – the one forged by Maiden, Priest, and Sabbath: Songcraft comes first. That kind of steadfastness leads to some clunkers here and there (the 13 tracks here could and should be trimmed by a few), but the best stuff here is built to last.