Saturday, 26 November 2011

Muggin's Top 20 Of 2011- No's 15 and 14

No 15- Anvil- Juggernaut Of Justice

    There cannot have been a single soul who saw Anvil: The Story Of Anvil and not have been touched by the inspirational story, struggle and ultimately the friendship of Anvil lead guitarist/singer Steve 'Lips' Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner. The success of the movie thrust the once cutting edge band back into the spotlight after years of obscurity and being overtaken by more successful bands in the field they created such as Anthrax and Metallica. Whilst it is great to see people talking about Anvil once again, the band needed to make a great, worthwhile album again, otherwise the hype once again surrounding them could mean nothing.

    Thankfully Anvil have delivered a great album and appear to be in their best form since their classic Metal On Metal days. Arguably Anvil are no longer the innovative band they once were when they arguably created thrash and speed metal; and also there are much stronger albums out this year, but Juggernaut Of Justice is still a major triumph for the band and is a much welcome return to form. It genuinely deserves recognition purely because it see's Anvil doing well once again. Some problems that plagued previous releases are almost forgotten; the production sounds great and clear, the full band themselves are the tightest they have been in a long time since reverting to a 3 piece, and the songs themselves are simply some of the best they have made in a long time; the likes of the title track, 'On Fire' and 'Fukenh!' are more than good enough to sit with anything on Metal On Metal.

    What is also striking about this album is that there is a great sense that the band members themselves are having a whale of a time. Their friendship and commitment to the band never questioned when watching the documentary, it genuinely sounds like they are having fun in the studio. You can almost see 'Lips' massive Cheshire Cat like grin during the epic title track, and that is an amazing thing to pick up on. With a renewed love amongst metal heads for Anvil, Juggernaut Of Justice is the ultimate compliment to pay the fans.

Listen To: Juggernaut Of Justic, On Fire, Turn It Up

No 14- Hell- Human Remains

    Originally formed in 1982 during the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) era, a series of tragic events including the suicide of lead singer David G Halliday, Hell never managed to release a full début album, despite a few EP releases making quite an impact before they split in 1987. The remaining members however finally reunited in 2008 with the help of Sabbat members Martin Walkyier and Andy Sneap. A revised line-up finally released the first album Human Remains this year, and it is an absolute monster.

     Despite several members distancing themselves from the movement during interviews, this is undoubtedly NWOBHM esque of the likes of Angel Witch and early Iron Maiden, with very melodic guitar licks and high pitched wailing vocals. Human Remains sports some additional tricks to its book however.

    Firstly there are many references to the occult and satanic, completely evident in titles such as 'On Earth As It Is In Hell', 'Blasphemy And The Master' and 'The Devil's Deadly Weapon' alone; lyrical content seems to capture the essence of early modern periods of history (especially with reference to Shakespeare in 'Macbeth'). There is also a great sense of theatre here as well. It is a very grandiose piece of work; children singing nursery rhymes at the end of 'Plague And Fyre' and introductions of witches speeches at the start of 'Macbeth' being just a couple of examples. In fact for the most part it sounds like Hell's manager could have been Shakespeare himself; it also sometimes begins to venture into camp territories it has to be said, but rarely on the verge of silliness.

Listen To: On Earth As It Is In Hell, Plague And Fyre, Blasphemy And The Master

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