The last instalment of the re-issue campaign from Canadian Heavy Metal legands Anvil sees a special two-in-one pack of 2002s 'Still Going Strong' coupled with 'Back To Basics' from a couple of years later whilst 'This Is Thirteen' from 2008 is the comeback album that put Anvil back into the world's eye.
The beginning of the naughties decade wasn't a kind one to Anvil as the band was largely forgotten about, except to the die hards in their home country, although Anvil still battled onwards with a passion of fighting to the death.
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'Still Going Strong' and 'Back To Basics' is not the perfect place to start your Anvil collection but completists will still find something here to crash your cranium to. Both albums were recorded as a four piece with Ivan Hurd on guitar along with Lips and Robb Reiner bashing at the back with Glenn 'G5' providing some solid bass.
One of my all time favourite Anvil tracks, 'Race Against Time', frantically opens the album in the finest headbanging fashion and is just as good if not better than anything that Megadeth have recorded in recent years, followed by the stomping 'In Hell' and the risky religious lyrics of 'Holy Wood' all done with tongue firmly in cheek. 'White Rhino' is a live favourite where upon Robb Reiner gets the chance to express himself.
'Back To Basics' was an apt title as it suffered from a low budget production but still contains the punchy 'Fuel For This Fire', 'Can't Catch Me' and the amusingly titled 'Bottom Feeder', but no one could've guessed what was going to happen next!
Anvil fortunes were turned around with the film documentary 'Anvil: The Story Of Anvil' and 'This Is Thirteen' is the album you'll see the band making in that film after managing to raise the $10,000 needed to fly to the UK to record album with producer of their earlier material, Chris Tsangarides, down in Deal on the Kent coast.
The production is a vast improvement on previous efforts as is the songwriting. It's a shame that Anvil opted not to include many tracks from this album in the live set as there are many bonafide gems on this album including the attacking 'Bombs Away', 'Flying Blind' and the postive thinking of 'Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda'.
Two live favourites on this album include both the Sabbathy sounding title track 'This Is Thirteen' and a track not orignally available on it's first release 'Thumb Hang', the track that Lips and Reiner first wrote as school kids and can be seen discussing the humourous origins of this song in the film.
This album is a fine addition to the first three classic albums and their most recent output 'Juggernaut Of Justice.'