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Album Review: Anvil – Legal at Last

As funny as it is to imagine Legal at Last being some sort of Anvil gone stoner rock venture, the Canadians’ eighteenth album is more or less business as usual. Whether the tempos are aiming for post-AC/DC hard rock stomps or speedy proto thrash, every song is a pounding blast of classic metal with straightforward verses and boneheaded chorus chants galore. The drum mix is rather distant, but the playing is as tight as ever, and the vocals keep that goofy demeanor.

To the band’s credit, though, their slower side does seem to be a bit more pronounced this time around. Influences from Sabbath are especially noticeable as “Plastic in Paradise” rides a hazy groove that emulates Volume 4 while the shuffle on the closing “Said and Done” reminds me of COC’s take on “Lord of This World.” On the flip side, “Gasoline” plays like a retread of “This Is Thirteen” right down to the copy-paste guitar/vocal trade-offs and phrasings.

But like every other Anvil album out there, a pedestrian style carried over twelve tracks makes for a very mixed bag. Lead single “Nabbed in Nebraska” is an immediate standout though its infectious earworm seems catered more to ironic appreciation than genuine enjoyment. The other tracks just end up going in one ear and out the other. The band’s personality still shines through, but it all ends up being serviceable yet unexceptional.

As with the other albums that Anvil has released since 2011’s Juggernaut of Justice, Legal at Last further undermines what was supposed to the band’s second wind. While the slight emphasis on slower songs gives the album a more distinct flavor if you squint, the results are ultimately the same middle of the road interchangeability. Longtime fans will more than likely appreciate the signature Anvil tropes on display. At least we can take comfort in Anvil using this title before Ted Nugent could get his grimy hands on it…

“Nabbed in Nebraska”
“Plastic in Paradise”

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