REVIEW: Anvil – Juggernaut of Justice (Deluxe and iTunes versions)

For my recent review of Anvil’s This Is Thirteen on vinyl, click here!

JUGGERNAUT_0001ANVIL – Juggernaut of Justice (2011 The End Records)

When I first heard all that cowbell on the track “Fukeneh!” I screamed aloud, “YES!” Anvil don’t give a crap about what’s trendy and what ain’t. That’s why they’re still around over 30 years later, and Juggernaut of Justice was one of their best albums since the early 80’s.

It’s not commercial, but it is more accessible. As good as This Is Thirteen was, I like Juggernaut of Justice better. It is slickly produced by Bob Marlette (at Dave Grohl’s Studio 606). Bob Marlette is not my favourite producer, I’ll admit that, but he’s done a bang-on job here. A little trebly on the guitars in the mix, but otherwise a fine, clear sharp production job. Lip’s vocals are more accessible, but not overproduced. You can still hear flat notes here and there, which is good!  I like production to remain authentic.  Kudos to Marlette who made a great sounding Anvil album.

Every song is great. I especially loved “Conspiracy” and “Fukeneh!”. “On Fire” is cool and fun lyrically, an obviously autobiographical tune about Lips himself. The title track is great, and so is the galloping nu-metal sheen of “This Ride” (featuring bassist Glenn Five on vocals.)  Yet there are no weak tracks, Anvil sharpening their metal edges.  With the exception of the 7-minute “Paranormal,” (a great slow burner) all songs are in the 3-4 minute range, packing maximum punch into the grooves.  Also noteworthy is the horn-laden metal of “Swing Thing”!  This great instrumental shows off the considerable chops of drummer Robb Reiner. It is the icing on top of this heavy metal treat!

I love the cover art, which reminds me of Endgame by Megadeth for whatever reason. (Also “Conspiracy” reminded me of some of the lyrical themes on Endgame.)

I liked Juggernaut of Justice enough to buy it twice: Once digitally, to get the bonus track “What I Want To Be”, and then the limited edition CD which has its own pair of bonus tracks. “The Station” grinds along relentlessly, with a metallic sheen of multiple layered guitars. “Tonight Is Coming” is more basic, but with G5 hanging out on the upper frets of his bass every now and then to give it some flavour. The chorus is pretty amusing: “Tonight is coming, all day long!”*

The digital bonus track, “What I Want To Be” is the best of the three, a bright metal song with Reiner playing it fairly straight and the transmission in drive. Each bonus is a perfectly fine track, so purchase as you feel so inclined.

Very, very happy with this album. I had my doubts due to the presence of Bob Marlette instead of Chris Tsangarides, but…well done, Bob.

4.5/5 stars

* their new album, Hope In Hell, features the song “Flying” with the following lyric:

“Tel Aviv to Turkey then down through Greece,
Back home to Canada to see our famous geese.”

You gotta love that.

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23 comments

  1. This band, man. On my list. You know I don’t own ANY Anvil? What is wrong with me? I mean, seriously. It’s ridiculous. 4.5/5 on Lebrain’s is good enough for me. Now accepting any and all recommendations for others that are dead certs.

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  2. Lips really wails on this song here and I was just as impressed with the other two. I’m going to have to get this album. Funny thing was that somebody on the Bloodstock Forum said they were amateurish live. It sure didn’t look like that in the video.

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    1. Well, you gotta figure every band has a bad gig, but Anvil’s been around 35 years…I’m sure they are no slouches on stage! I have never seen them but they look like fun.

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  3. You know their movie? I dunno what it’s called, the Anvil film. Anyway, I loved that movie and Lips came across as a very likable person with shitloads of passion and love for music and the guy fought like dog to be able to keep playing and touring and I felt truly happy for him in the end when they played for that huge crowd. All is well.
    They even had a campaign here in Sweden to make sure their single Metal On Metal would be # 1 in the Swedish charts so everybody and their mother bought the song on iTunes and sure enough it ended up as #1. Really ccol. I bought a song as well.
    Still, I never got Anvil and I never thought they were any good. I never hated them and I never thought they were crap – they just were. And I never thought it was that strange that they never made it big.
    That said, I haven’t heard this album. fact is, I haven’t heard anything since their 80’s albums.

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    1. “They just were” — that makes sense, I get that,

      I can’t guarantee you’d like Juggernaut of Justice. But if I find a used copy I’ll send it your way. Still looking for used Helix CDs for you by the way.

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      1. I’d give anything a chance.
        I read that Helix are about to release a new album. Correct?
        Thanks a lot, but I’m fine with a burnt copy. You don’t have to go out and spend money on me. But I really appretiate the gesture. :-D

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        1. Yes it’s called Bastard of the Blues. Some of the songs are previously released (from an EP and a hits CD prior) but I believe more than half of it is brand new.

          Well, see you could make your own burned copies. But to find a cheap original to send you would be better! I have to take a trip downtown to Encore Records, I have not been there in months and that’s where I’ll find what I’m looking for.

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  4. Regardless of whether or not these guys are amazing doesn’t matter to me. I’m just glad that they’re back together, jammin’, makin’ money and having a good time. That’s all I wanted for these guys, especially after seeing that documentary some ways back. Nice post, Mike!

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