Album Review: Anvil – Pounding The Pavement

By Andrew Bansal

The 1980s gave birth to a vast plethora of heavy metal bands. The genre was at the height of its popularity in that decade, and as a result, new bands were popping up everywhere. Not many of them survived after the initial wave, and fast forward to 2018, only a few can legitimately claim to have had a successful career throughout. But, while there is no shortage of mediocre bands clinging onto their long-gone glory days and extracting every possible ounce of cash from diehard fans with their half-baked reunions and sub-par albums, no single band can claim to be as consistently bad as Anvil. Formed in 1981, this band, for reasons unfathomable, has been able to release 16 full-length studio albums, and is on the verge of releasing the 17th. With bated breath and no positive expectations, I pressed ‘play’ on ‘Pounding The Pavement’, and I seriously wish I hadn’t.

As the story goes, Anvil guitarist/vocalist Steve “Lips” Kudlow turned down the opportunity to join Motörhead in 1983 as Fast Eddie Clarke’s replacement. Even to this day, he tells this story in every single Anvil concert, and it is invariably followed by sympathetic applause. The most ironic thing about this is, he turned down the Motörhead gig but every single Anvil album since 1983 has sounded like budget Motörhead. Imagine Motörhead with bland songwriting, cringeworthy lyrics, childish song titles and abominable album covers, and you get Anvil. These qualities have been constant through every Anvil album. With all this in mind, there is really nothing good one could have expected from ‘Pounding The Pavement’, but to Anvil’s credit, the album still manages to be even worse than expected.

The album gets off to the worst possible start with a song called ‘Bitch in the Box’, which is basically Lips bitching about his GPS navigator. The next two songs ‘Ego’ and ‘Doing What I Want’ are straight-up Motörhead knockoffs, but at least they are short and fast-paced, so they go by quickly enough if you just pretend you’re listening to Motörhead instead. The slower the tempo of the song, the worse the lyrics get, as evident on ‘Smash Your Face’. Just four songs in, it’s quite clear that only a reviewer would bother to sit through the rest of the album. Not all heroes wear capes.

The title track is by far the best this album has to offer, and that is simply because it’s an instrumental and isn’t ruined by childish lyrics. But even then, this 3-minute track starts fading away mid-way through because it gets repetitive in the riffs and arrangements. It is followed by two more mediocre tunes ‘ Rock That Shit’ and ‘Let It Go’, and then comes ‘Nanook of the North’, the worst song on the album. Not only that, it is the worst usage of that title, which belongs to a 1922 silent documentary film about an Inuc man of the Canadian Arctic. The album is far from done yet, as you are treated to three more unsavory cookie-cutter Anvil tunes ‘Black Smoke’, ‘World of Tomorrow’ and ‘Warming Up’. It is still not over, because guess what, there is a bonus track, the aptly titled ‘Don’t Tell Me’, a perfect way to bring an end to a gloriously terrible album.

The production isn’t half bad, but you can’t polish a turd, as they say. And not much can be said about the album cover, other than that it lives up to Anvil’s legacy of bad album covers and is just as bad as that of any of the other 16 albums. The consistency with which Anvil continue to succeed to be bad and get progressively worse at everything they do is just incredibly astounding. It’s one of those things, it’s so bad, it’s good.

All that said, no one should listen to bad music, and you are best advised to stay as far away from Anvil’s ‘Pounding The Pavement’ as you possibly can. Yet another painfully mediocre and instantly forgettable album by the worst band Canada has ever produced.

Rating: ZERO out of 10

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Record Label: SPV/Steamhammer
Release Date: January 19 2018

Track Listing:
01. Bitch In The Box (4:29)
02. Ego (2:57)
03. Doing What I Want (3:17)
04. Smash Your Face (4:20)
05. Pounding The Pavement (3:05)
06. Rock That Shit (3:21)
07. Let It Go (3:00)
08. Nanook Of The North (5:57)
09. Black Smoke (3:26)
10. World Of Tomorrow (4:37)
11. Warming Up (3:03)
12. Don´t Tell Me (3:51) (bonus track)

Total Duration: 45:23

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