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Review: Anvil - Legal at Last
Legal at Last

Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2020
Duration: 50:29
Tracks: 12
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: January 28, 2020
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Legal at Last

Rated 4.17/5 (83.33%) (6 Votes)

I can't imagine anyone begrudging Anvil if they settled into a groove, a la Motorhead or AC/DC, and just cranked out "Anvil" albums until the cows come home. If you've seen the documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil you know they've more than paid their dues over a 40-year career and are now enjoying some well-deserved success. But as I sit here listening to their eighteenth full-length album, Legal at Last, my ears are still pinned back by the energy and sheer metal attitude Lips and Robb Reiner (with current bassist Chris Robertson) have imbued this release with. Long-time fans of this Canadian institution will certainly be thrilled to hear the influence of early records like Metal on Metal and Forged in Fire the boys have tapped when writing tracks like the speedy, melodic "Legal at Last" and "Chemtrails" or the heavy, pounding of "Nabbed in Nebraska", "Gasoline" and "Said and Done". I wouldn't say they are recycling songs like "Metal on Metal" or "Winged Assassins", just recognizing their godly riffing style and seeing if it can work again (spoiler; it does). Anvil's lyrics have always been different and Legal at Last does not buck that trend. I agree with their take on pollution and have no problem with them singing about legalization issues, but they are on the preachy side. Then you have cuts like "I'm Alive", about persisting in the face of adversity or "Food for the Vulture", which could reference any number of dog-eat-dog scenarios, and the message is less pointed. Legal at Last does drag a bit in the middle but not so much that you need to start skipping songs. You still get plenty of Lips signature soloing and Reiner's thunderous fills.

Anvil always was and always will be a unique band. They sound like no one and no one sounds like them. Legal at Last is easily the best and most consistent album they've released going back at least 10 years. If you drifted away from Anvil in the '80s amid mediocre releases like Strength of Steel or Worth the Weight and have been wading through uneven post-documentary albums like Hope in Hell and Anvil is Anvil hoping the band would regain their form, Legal at Last is the one you've been waiting for. I hold my cassette copy of Metal on Metal close to my heart and I can't stop listening to Legal at Last.

Other related information on the site
Review: Anvil is Anvil (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
Review: Anvil is Anvil (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Anvil: The Story of Anvil (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Back To Basics (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Forged in Fire (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Impact Is Imminent (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Impact Is Imminent (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Legal at Last (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Metal on Metal (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Nabbed in Nebraska (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Plenty of Power (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Pounding the Pavement (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Pounding the Pavement (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Still Going Strong (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The Anvil Experience (reviewed by Adam Kohrman)
Review: This is Thirteen (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Interview with Anvil on December 31, 2014 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with guitarist and vocalist Steve "Lips" Kudlow on March 22, 2016 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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