Tap into Anvil

‘Real life’ Spinal Tap hits Old Nick’s Pub

Anvil has become a synonym for persistence. Many music fans probably know the band from Anvil: The Story of Anvil, released in 2008. In addition to being the subject of a compelling documentary, the band’s contributions to 1980s metal as we know it today can’t be overstated.

I mean, listen to their album Metal on Metal, and you’ll hear echoes of just about every notable thrash band in the 1980s: Anthrax, Metallica and Slayer. Unfortunately, they were prone to misfortune, and Anvil never got the break they needed. 

That misfortune hasn’t stopped Steve “Lips” Kudlow (vocals/guitar) and Robb Reiner (drums) from pursuing their dreams of becoming rock stars. Kudlow and Reiner are now in their 60s, but they still go on tour to support their 13th album, Pounding the Pavement, released earlier this year. 

Studio album lucky number 13 shows they still know how to rock. Sure, Kudlow’s voice doesn’t have that same metal-operatic quality compared to Metal on Metal, Forged in Fire or other albums from the 1980s. Instead, Kudlow’s voice is at times a growl reminiscent of the late great Lemmy of Motorhead.

The lyrics won’t provoke much thought. The opening track, “Bitch the Box,” shows frustration with GPS driving directions.

But hey, you’re listening to Anvil for blistering guitar solos and thundering drums from Reiner, and you can find that on the second track, “Ego,” which features guitar riffs straight from the 1980s. 

Anvil is known as the “real life Spinal Tap” thanks to the documentary that follows them as they struggle to tour through Europe, record an album that nearly breaks up the band and endure record deal rejections.

The Spinal Tap trend continues, however. Anvil’s publicity reached out to set up an interview with the band, but I was told Kudlow changed his mind. He wanted to rest his voice instead.

Anvil will bring “Metal on Metal” to Old Nick’s Pub, 221 Washington Street, 8 pm Sunday, May 27. Tickets are $15.