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Review: Anvil - Forged in Fire
Forged in Fire

Label: Attic Records
Year released: 1983
Duration: 39:18
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: November 25, 2010
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Forged in Fire

Rated 4.7/5 (94%) (30 Votes)

If you were to state that 1982's Metal on Metal is the pinnacle of Anvil's career thus far, you'd get very little argument from me. I would, however, point to their follow up from 1983, Forged in Fire, as every bit as good as its better known predecessor. In some ways, it's actually better. Wait, didn't I just agree that Metal on Metal was their best? Let me explain.

Like a lot of budding metalheads back in the early 80s, Anvil were one of the early "import" or "independent" bands I "discovered" when I went looking for something heavier/faster/more evil than the crap on the major labels. Metal on Metal was the easiest to find at that time and, of course, it is excellent. Raw and heavy with subject matter you would never hear from the mainstream (my all time favorite Anvil track remains "Mothra"), the album has a loose feel that was new then and still sounds fresh today. Fast forward one year and Anvil, riding the success of Metal on Metal, release Forged in Fire. Chris Tsangarides, of Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy and Yngwie Malmsteen fame, amongst a host of others, handled the production, as he'd done with Metal on Metal. While Forged in Fire isn't quite as raw as Metal on Metal, the songs are better written, and the band's sound, while still fast and heavy, is tighter. Anvil is still loud and aggressive, with Lips' manic guitars and distinctive vocals, and Robb Reiner's powerful drumming, but they are completely focused this time around.

Epic opener "Forged in Fire" crushes you with a slow tempo and pounding riff. There is plenty of speed in songs like "Shadow Zone" and "Motormount" so don't worry that Anvil might have slowed down. Even the Dave Allison sung "Never Deceive Me" has a solid riff and a great solo by Lips (Allison's contributions to Metal on Metal sounded more Motley Crue than Anvil). Overall, the subject matter is less sexual and more "metal." In fact, the only track that sounds thrown together is Lips' ode to ladies' chests, "Butter Bust Jerky." Album closer "Winged Assassins" is just pure Heavy Metal brilliance.

If you like Heavy Metal, you probably own Metal on Metal. If you REALLY like Heavy Metal, and you don't own it already, you need to pick up a copy of Forged in Fire. While it may not be as charismatic as Metal on Metal, Forged in Fire's improved performance and songwriting will have you comparing them on equal footing soon enough.

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