RSS Feed

Pounding The Pavement

Steamhammer (2018)
Rating: 3/10

Here’s my long running issue with veteran Canadian metallers Anvil. Their songwriting skills and choice of song material is lacking and questionable at best. I dig the music, I get the band, I understand all the moving parts involved, but it’s hard for me to take this band seriously when they write and include a song called ‘Bitch In The Box’ on this latest record. It escapes me why the decision was made and that someone actually gave it the green light to appear on Pounding The Pavement.

The song in question is about a female GPS voice. Really? That’s where the band is in 2018? It’s beyond anything even remotely Spın̈al Tap, and I feel like it paints the band in a clunky, cartoonish kind of way.

But Anvil has always had that vibe to them, you know, that primal, caveman, what you see is what you get type thing. I guess I was just hoping that this kind of thing would’ve run its course by now and maybe we could see something a little more focused and serious, not that heavy metal should be. However, songs about an Eskimo and a GPS voice should’ve been shut down and laughed off as a joke before it ever reached the studio. I’m not interested in what Weird Al Yankovic would sound like if he went heavy metal. I’d prefer something – anything – just the opposite.

On a positive note, I did enjoy ‘Black Smoke’ which in my opinion is the best song on the record. Anvil should’ve led with that one and then followed with the title track, ‘Pounding The Pavement’. But then we kind of take a detour back into cartoon land with ‘Nanook Of The North’, the aforementioned Eskimo song I referenced above. And if you’re wondering whether or not the song is a metaphor for something else, then I’ve got a bit of bad news for you… it isn’t. It’s about Nanook Of The North and killing seals and polar bears running around. Yeah, it is what it is. Then again, if you weren’t listening to the lyrics or paying attention to song titles, musically it’s pretty headbanging. But this is precisely why Anvil is such a metal conundrum to me. I love their music, but question why they choose the lyrical content they do. It’s a head scratcher for sure.

Another one of my favourite tunes off this record is ‘Let It Go’. Again, I’d like to hear more songs like it as opposed to ‘Bitch In The Box’ and ‘Nanook Of The North’. When Anvil play straight ahead metal, they can’t be beat. I’ve always thought of Anvil as Canada’s answer to Motörhead, and for good reason. They know metal… they live and breathe it. I guess that’s why I’m so critical and expect so much more from this band. That and the fact that they’ve been around years and have fought long and hard for the success they’ve earned, and rightfully so.

I can’t fully recommend this album unless you’re a diehard Anvil fan, and if you are then you’ll buy it anyway. I just can’t see value in the creative direction they took with the songwriting on Pounding The Pavement. I found it two dimensional, and that’s being kind, as well as verging on the silly and cartoonish at times.

Look, Ronnie James Dio sang about dragons and demons and all things fantasy, but his songwriting was strong and he never took it past a certain point – the same with other artists too. Maybe Anvil got too comfortable while putting this record together, or surrounded themselves people who gave them all the wrong advice – I don’t know?

Musically speaking I dig Anvil, but maybe I should avoid the lyrics, right? Maybe that’s the key to enjoying this record. Take it for what it is. But if I do that then it falls into the category of Neanderthal rock, and I don’t like where that lands Anvil… they’re better than that.

Check out Pounding The Pavement, give it a listen and see where it takes you. But for this writer, I’m hoping the next record is a little more serious and less trite.

Theron Moore

<< Back to Album & EP Reviews

Related Posts via Categories