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Anvil – Juggernaut of Justice: Review

On May 10, the Canadian metal veterans Anvil released their latest album entitled Juggernaut of Justice. It is the second one to come out since the release of their critically acclaimed documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil. The film is basically about the downfall and the second coming of Anvil. Juggernaut of Justice only further signifies that the boys are back and still strong.

The Music (rating: B+)

  1. Juggernaut of Justice
  2. When Hell Breaks Loose
  3. New Orleans Voodoo
  4. On Fire
  5. Fuckin’ Eh!
  6. Turn it Up
  7. This Ride
  8. Not Afraid
  9. Conspiracy
  10. Running
  11. Paranormal
  12. Swing Thing

Juggernaut of Justice is a heavy metal album with a definite thrash influence. Of course, being a commonly cited influence among thrash bands, this is expected. But the music is more head-banging and less moshing. And like most metal, it is guitar-driven with heavy support from the drums and bass mixed in with harsher vocal tones. This record fits very well with the description of the metal genre.

There are many neat riffs in Juggernaut of Justice, which is crucial due to its emphasis on the guitar. But they are also fairly diverse in how they mesh with the vocals and drums, as well as their general presentation. No doubt they are all metal riffs, but there are is a healthy mixture of palm-muting, arpeggiating, choking, etc. And on behalf of the drums, most of the highlights come with the fills as opposed to the rhythms. That being said, the rhythms, though often simple, are appropriate and varied. But the placement and content of the fills make the drumming portion of the album much more valuable, particularly in “Swing Thing”. And the capability of the drumming in different contexts really comes to life in “Paranormal”. The drums and guitars by the two founding members are more than commendable on this album.

Though less focus is placed on the bass and vocals, they actually do quite well for themselves – the bass more so than the vocals. More often than not, the bass simply shadows the guitar. But at moments throughout Juggernaut of Justice, the bass gives some highlight grooves. The vocals are better than average, but still very standard. They merely fill the gaps which the instruments provide. Both technically and lyrically, the vocals are nothing special. Still, they are the icing on the cake that gets the job done.

The most pressing issue with the album is the lack of originality. Juggernaut of Justice is so clearly unable to break free from the limitations of metal, for the most part. There are some pieces in the latter half of the record that give metal and more. But for much of the album, it is stylistically safe but executed at a respectable level. It just does not feel like the band members are pushing themselves hard enough in terms of innovation. That being said, it is crystal-clear that the band is doing what they love and with whom they love and the result is more than satisfactory.

All in all, Juggernaut of Justice is a very good album. There are some parts that are stale and generic, but there are some neat tracks. I personally preferred the latter half to the first, my favourites being “Swing Thing” and “Paranormal”. This record is well-executed heavy metal with a strong vintage feel. However, it is still undeniably, unmistakably, highly predictably metal… a good metal band giving what is expected; no less, no more.

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