Sunday, April 19, 2009

Anvil in the Raw

I know very little about metal, even though I admire several bands.

What I know for sure, however, is that Anvil - The Story of Anvil is one fantastic documentary about two amazing guys who have never jettisoned their dreams.

Long admired, imitated, and ignored by record companies, Sacha Gervasi's film gives us a potted history of the band, then rides shotgun with them as they tour Europe and record their thirteenth album, This Is Thirteen (a really great piece of work, by the way!) with ace producer Chris Tsangaridis.

Director Gervasi was a roadie for the band in the 80's and clearly gained the confidence of band toppers Steve Kudlow and Robb Reiner (two of the most decent human beings you could ever hope to meet). The raw emotions on display here are a revelation to behold.

Don't read my bullshit about the film. Let the film, which is enthralling, heartbreaking, honest cinema, do the talking.


  1. I haven't seen this one, but I shall.

    Slightly off message, I know, because you clearly respect this film and the participants, and as I haven't seen the film, I certainly can't comment or make judgements; but the image alone got my juices going.

    I might never get another chance to say this, so may I hurl one off?

    Isn't heavy metal asking for a jolly good ribbing??

    I refer of course to 'The Tap'- it is an obvious, and yet no less influential example of the genre.

    I refer also to 'Bad News', and a few select others- 'Hard Core Logo' and a swathe of others that don't readily spring to mind at the moment, but I am certain others will help.

    Oh!! Now I think of it, 'Still Crazy' is a beauty, a real keeper; if you haven't seen it (and I am certain you have) please do. It is such good fun, well scripted, spotless performance, and the music...outstanding!

    Then I would also include so called 'docos'- where the line becomes blurred.

    Or does it?

    'Decline of Western Civilisation- The Metal Years' feels like a piss take.

    'Some Kind of Monster'- a terrific film- at times feels very 'tappish'. It crosses my mind when watching that the participants MUST feel a little like they are in 'tap' could they not?

    Who hasn't stood next to an amp and wondered if it 'goes up to eleven'?

    Metal- indeed most hard rock-has that element of inherent absurdity, mixed in with the profoundly theatrical. I need not mention Kiss and AC, so I won't.

    For mine, as soon as someone puts on leather, studs, and hard rock swagger, they are a target for mirth.

    But then that counts too!

    Metal when it laughs at itself is the best metal of all! Take Lemmy, who has never taken himself too seriously, and look at "Lemmy- The Movie". He is on record as saying it is not brain surgery, it is fun, fun, fun, and he gets paid for it.

    And we get to go with him.

    It is only when metal gets serious- the devil, blood, and death- that it becomes profoundly boring. I can't think of a single death metal band I like, for the simple fact that it bores me. To death.

    Ho hum. Suicide as art, death worship, necrophiliac love songs...should interest me.

    Doesn't. Spare me.

    I love the music hard and loud- the harder and louder the better- but I need that 'Born to be Wild' swagger hangin' in there- it is way cooler. I want to hear the instruments, the craft. Good metal doesn't mean bad musicianship; far from it. Anthrax are the epitomy of all that is goofy, hard and loud. I know they are passe now, but try to listen to their live version of 'Judge Dredd' without smiling. And 'I'm The Man?" It's like 'Mad Magazine' with a metal soundtrack.

    Fun, remember? And don't forget to tune the guitar. When Pungent Stench descend into that growling chaos of undiscernible lyrics, and unintelligible drums and guitar, they loose me. It covers up a profound lack of talent, and the sense of the absurdity of the pursuit descends into a giant 'Yawn-apaloozsa'.

    Or perhaps I am being old fashioned.

    Anyway, nuff said.

    Nice call, Phantom...

  2. makes me proud to be canadian. this...and F.U.B.A.R.

  3. Awesome ~ I am going to go add this one to the Netflix Queue now ~ Thanks Phantom!