Hard ā€˜nā€™ Heavy


Attic, 1981


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


A confession: I am so far behind the times that I have yet to see the movie Anvil!: The Story Of Anvil. So, it makes sense to begin delving into the history of Steve “Lips” Kudrow and crew with their 1981 debut effort, Hard ‘n’ Heavy, with no preconceived notions of what to expect from Anvil.

In a sense, it’s good that this is how I entered into this disc, because what I heard hardly impressed me. A mixture of the light-heartedness of Cheap Trick with a soft-handed slap towards lasciviousness a la Kiss, Anvil doesn’t quite know what direction to take their music on their first effort, and it suffers in the long run as a result.

The band—vocalist/guitarist Kudrow, guitarist/vocalist Dave Allison, bassist Ian Dickson and drummer Robb Reiner—are proficient in terms of their musical skills, even if Kudrow isn’t as proficient a guitarist in terms of solid rhythms as, say, Rick Nielsen. But they’re able to put some decent enough songs together that have solid musicality (even if, at times, they aren’t able to maintain a solid rhythm, as on “Bondage”).my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

And then, there’s the lyrical content. Kudrow is not the strongest vocalist on the planet—nor, for that matter, is Allison, who handles lead vocals on two tracks. This would be somewhat forgivable, if the lyrics had some punch to them. Unfortunately, they do not; tracks like “I Want You Both (With Me),” “Hot Child” and “Bedroom Game” are about as suggestive as a Fisher-Price pop-up book, and hardly convey the raw sexuality and desire I think that Anvil was aiming for on the disc.

Add into this mix an insipidly delivered cover of “Paint It Black,” which loosely follows the rhythmic pattern of the original from the Rolling Stones. But one consistently missed chord change is especially grating on this reviewer’s ears, and will undoubtedly be the same for anyone who has grown up with the original all these years.

In the end, Hard ‘n’ Heavy ends up being a listenable enough debut effort from a band who didn’t quite seem to know what they wanted to do with their music. Did they want to have the suggestiveness of a band like AC/DC in their lyrics? Did they want to have a bit of a Ted Nugent groove to their music? Having never heard any of their other releases prior to dusting this one off, I can’t say for certain that only time would tell… but other comments I’ve read online suggest that this is the pattern that Anvil has followed for most of their career. A deeper dive into their catalog will reveal the truth… only thing is, I can’t say I’m excited about that prospect after getting through this one.

I can think of worse ways to spend 40 minutes of my time, and this one serves as decent enough backing music for one’s daily chores. However, Hard ‘n’ Heavy tends to be a bit of false advertising on both claims, and should be approached with caution.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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