Monday, June 15, 2009

The Message Behind Anvil

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to check out the much hyped documentary: Anvil! The story of Anvil. Now for those unaware this is a real band who had some minor success in the 80's but then fell off the map after a few short years. This movie documents the brief rise and long fall of this band and how they are given opportunities to reclaim something they used to have. Here is the trailer for the film.

Now for the life of me I recall the name but I couldn't place a song or anything so I did a search on good old Youtube and then found this gem.

A light went off in my head " Oh yeah , I remember this video on Headbangers Ball". And I remember hating it. That was the only song or video I can recall seeing of these guys. The movie was pretty good but sad in parts because this is the kind of story that effected alot of other bands that has some measure of success in the 80's and were dropped by the time the 90's rolled around.

The opening of the film has interviews with some heavy hitters like Lars Ulrich and Lemmy commenting on how influential Anvil was and how they should have been bigger then they were. I'll have to respectively disagree with both of them. There were alot of factors that in my mind led to the demise of Anvil among other bands.

First of all they are from Canada. Now I'm not knocking our neighbors to the north but it is well documented that if you're not Rush you were not going to last long in the States. Helix,Triumph,Aldo Nova, and later Annihilator to name a few. Have any of those bands lasted longer then 5 years in the States with any consistent album sales? No. The scene back then was all about England and Los Angeles.

Second was their sound. It wasn't thrash and it wasn't hair metal. It was kind of a cross between both at times like the crude obnoxious hybrid of both. A niche audience at best. Musically it wasn't bad but the lyrics and themes were juvenile to where the only people that were going to get any enjoyment out of Anvil with the songs they wrote were 12-14 year old kids that were going to eventually grow out of them or move on to heavier more technical groups. Not a recipe for long term success in my book.

Thirdly was their stage presence. While it wasn't bad, carrying a dildo onstage and playing the guitar with it in a era where Alice Cooper was still reigning supreme for shock and a band named W.A.S.P. was doing S&M and throwing raw meat into the crowd was just lame. Not to mention the lead singer was ugly as hell compared to the front men in other bands like Motley Crue, Queensryche,and when the hair band era really kicked off Europe, Poison...etc.

Here is a video that kind of sums up what I'm saying all wrapped in one.

Anyways, check out the movie and make your own conclusions but I hate it when people say certain bands are underrated and should have been bigger. There is usually a good reason and all the finger pointing in the world is not going to take away the fact that some bands.....were just not that good to begin with and it caught up with them.

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