Whether you’re in the mosh pit, blasting this album through your motorcycle’s speakers, or just listening to it at work, Anvil’s latest album Juggernaut of Justice is an album for movement. The energy carries through from beginning to end, with a few justifiable exceptions.
Every instrument carries this momentum without sounding too muddy or out of place. The guitars are in the front of the mix, with Lips’ riffs controlling the flow of each song. Anvil is officially a three piece now, with Lips doubling up on both guitar parts. His solos get the job done without being too lengthy. (I suppose that he records the multiple guitar parts separately, but I like to think that he’s able to play both parts simultaneously through Canadian metal magic.)
Robb Reiner’s drums are in the back, but his amazing performance can be heard clearly. Even in the most simple of songs his technical prowess shines through. The beginning of “Swing Thing” even dedicates a few measures to a solo… sadly, not enough. There’s just not enough high hat in metal nowadays.
The only problem I have with the mix on this album is that Glenn Five’s bass is a little too loud. Every instrument is crisp and clear, but the bass that high off throws the mix off. Sure, we can hear what an amazing player he is… but seeing as the production is great to start with, we could have anyway.
The two exceptions to the speed of this album are “New Orleans Voo Doo” and “Paranormal.” “New Orleans Voo Doo” is a good stomp to stick on track three–whereas with “Paranormal” Anvil seems to suddenly turn into Candlemass (Canvilmass?). Neither song slows the album down to the point where they cause it to drag. This is where good track placement comes into play. The rest of the songs do vary slightly in tempo. They are all arranged in the right order to neither bore nor frustrate the listener.
Finally, the album ends on the uptempo instrumental “Swing Thing.” After Reiner’s solo the song goes into a fast-paced, sort of jazzy metal piece. It’s very reminiscent of some of King Crimson’s material from the early seventies. With all of the experimentation on this album, it will be interesting to see where the band heads next.
Even with a few flaws such as the level of the bass guitar and the corny (but not really funny this time) lyrics, Anvil pounded out a solid heavy metal album sure to get listeners moving. It still sounds like Anvil off the old days… but Anvil is Anvil, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Horns up.