Anvil Back to Basics

I was pretty excited about this, Anvil being one of Canadian metal’s shining stars in the past, delivering a couple of the anthems we’ll all be humming until the day we die. But Back to Basics isn’t really up to their standards. It’s not like the band has always been stuck in the past — some of their post-’80s output was quite good. But this one just sounds tired, dated and to be frank, it’s a little embarrassing to listen to, bearing in mind these are grown men. Now, I love fun cheesy metal as much as the next dork, but there’s just not even enough of that here. Instead, it’s kind of silly (I can’t even bring myself to look at the lyrics for "Keep It Up”), flat sounding, unmemorable, and generally tasteless. The opening tune, "Fuel For the Fire” is the best on the disc, and from there on in it just keeps sliding, culminating in the unbearable "Cruel World,” a quasi-ballad that sounds so demo-quality I barely made it through to album closer "Fast Driver.” ("Fast Driver”? Yeesh.) Too bad, given the band’s potential to write smokin’ tunes, the always above-average drumming of Robb Reiner, and the legacy they have left behind. But this is one collection of tunes best left in the jam room. (Galy)