Top 10 Anvil Songs

Anvil Songs

Feature Photo: Stefan Bollmann, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons

Our top 10 Anvil songs list looks at the catalog of a Canadian metal band best known for its impactful role in shaping the North American metal scene. Formed in the ‘70s, Anvil is cited among forebearers of the speed metal genre in North America. The band is regarded as a major influence on the careers of the metal bands Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax—often regarded as the big four bands in thrash metal.

Unfortunately, Anvil never got the acclaim they deserved in comparison to the big four American speed/thrash metal bands. In the 2008 cult classic rockumentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil, guitarist Slash cites, “As big as an influence they had on everybody, everybody just sort of ripped them off, and then sort of just left them for dead.” Metallica’s drummer Lars Ulrich also quoted that the band Anvil was on the verge of turning the music world upside down.

Nevertheless, the band’s music career has been a journey of perseverance and endless determination. Anvil would eventually get its big break thanks to the impactful rockumentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil. Over the years, Anvil members have issued a total of nineteen studio albums. After almost two decades of “obscurity”, Anvil rekindled its way back to success earning respect from veteran speed metal aficionados and young metalheads.

A Review of Anvil’s Career And Songs

In 1981, the band issued its debut studio album Hard ‘n’ Heavy. The album was issued through Attic Records, a label (once) home to Killer Dwarfs, The Frantics, Motorhead, The Nylons, Teenage Head, and TriumphHard ‘n’ Heavy saw Anvil (then going by the name Lips) serve us with a blend of heavy metal and hard rock. “School Love,” “Oooh Baby,” “666,” and the cover of the Rolling Stones‘ hit “Paint It, Black” are some of the best Anvil songs from the album Hard ‘n’ Heavy.

Anvil returned in 1982 with their sophomore studio album Metal on Metal. The album is the first record by Anvil to squarely feature speed metal elements, albeit blended with heavy metal influences. Metal on Metal was also issued through Attic Records under the production of Chris Tsangarides. Other artists who have worked with record producer Chris include Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, Anthem, Gary Moore, and Helloween. “Stop Me,” “March of the Crabs” “Metal on Metal,” and “Mothra” are the best Anvil songs from the LP.

Forged in Fire, issued in 1983, marked the band’s third studio album. The album marked Anvil’s last LP issued through Attic Records. Chris Tsangarides was tasked with producing the album Forged in Fire. The album is home to some of the popular songs by Anvil including “Winged Assassins,” “Free as the Wind,” and “Forged in Fire.”

In 1987, Anvil returned with their fourth studio album Strength of Steel. The album was issued through Metal Blade and Enigma Records. Strength of Steel remains the band’s only album to have climbed into the Billboard 200. The song made it to position one hundred and ninety-one where it stayed for two weeks. “Mad Dog,” “Concrete Jungle,” “Straight Between the Eyes,” and the cover of The Stampeders’ hit “Wild Eyes” are the best Anvil songs from the album.

Pound for Pound, issued in 1988, marked Anvil’s fifth studio album. The album was issued through Metal Blade/Enigma Records under the production of Anvil members, Mel Berger, and Paul Lachapelle (who worked with Moxy, Carpet Frogs, and The Anger Brothers). “Toe Jam,” “Fire in the Night,” and “Blood in the Ice” are some of the most popular Anvil songs from the album Pound for Pound.

Anvil returned in 1992 with their sixth studio album Worth the Weight. The album was issued through Mausoleum Records, a label (once) home to L.A. Guns, Warlock, Hawkwind, Killer, Steeler, and Cinderella. “On the Way to Hell,” “Infanticide,” and “Bushpig” are some of the most sought-after tracks from the album.

Worth the Weight was followed up by Anvil’s seventh studio album Plugged in Permanent. The 1997 album marked the band’s first record to be issued through Massacre Records, a label (once) home to Debauchery, Raven, Tears of Martyr, and Fates Warning. Anvil went ahead to issue more albums under Massacre Records including Absolutely No Alternative, Speed of Sound, Plenty of Power, Still Going Strong, and Back to Basics.

Anvil returned in 2007 with their thirteenth studio album This Is Thirteen. The album would eventually mark the band’s comeback to mainstream success and massive appeal. Anvil saw the album climb to the eighteenth spot on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart. The album also rose to the fiftieth spot on the Billboard Independent Albums Chart. “Burning Bridges,” “Room #9,” “Flying Blind,” and “This Is Thirteen” are the best Anvil songs from the album.

Four years later, Anvil issued their fourteenth studio album Juggernaut of Justice. The album was issued through The End Records under the production of Bob Marlette. Other artists who have worked under Bob Marlette include Rob Halford, Rob Zombie, Ozzy Osbourne, and Lynyrd SkynyrdJuggernaut of Justice was a mainstream success rising to the twelfth spot on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart. “Swing Thing,” “Paranormal,” and “Juggernaut of Justice” are the most popular songs by Anvil from the album.

Hope in Hell, issued in 2013, marked the band’s fifteenth studio album. The album was issued through Steamhammer Records under the production of Bob Marlette. Hope in Hell rose to position thirty-one on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart. “Badass Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “Eat Your Words,” “Call of Duty,” and “Hope is Hell” are some of the best Anvil songs from the album.

In 2016, the band issued its sixteenth studio album Anvil Is Anvil. The album was also issued through Steamhammer Records under the production of Martin Pfeiffer. Martin Pfeiffer has also worked with other artists including Sven Görtz, U.D.O., Dirk Daniels, Love Might Kill, and Helstar. Anvil Is Anvil peaked at the sixteenth spot on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart.

“Die for a Lie,” “It’s Your Move,” and “Up, Down, Sideways” are some of the musical gems featured on the album Anvil Is Anvil. The album Anvil Is Anvil was followed up by the band’s seventeenth studio album Pounding the PavementPounding the Pavement went ahead to mark the band’s final album issued through Steamhammer Records. “Bitch in the Box” and “Ego” are some of the best Anvil songs from the album.

Legal at Last, issued in 2020, marked the band’s eighteenth studio album. The album was Anvil’s first record issued through AFM Records. Other artists who have issued records through AFM Records include Lordi, Annihilator, Evergrey, and Doro. The album is home to musical gems such as “Nabbed in Nebraska” and “Legal at Last.” Legal at Last was followed up by Anvil’s most recent LP Impact Is Imminent. The 2022 album is home to some of the best Anvil songs including “Ghost Shadow,” “Take a Lesson,” and “Another Gun Fight.”

#10- Hope in Hell

Ushering us to the top 10 Anvil songs list is the striking hit “Hope in Hell.” The song serves as the album title track of the band’s fifteenth studio album. “Hope in Hell” is among the most favorite songs from the band’s fifteenth album thanks to its chugging guitar riffs. This angst-filled heavy metal track showcases the impressive songwriting abilities of drummer Robb Reiner and lead vocalist Steve Kudlow.

This catchy pick features a music video directed by the Swedish film/music director René Valdes. Other artists who have used the services of René Valdes include The Night Flight Orchestra and Backyard Babies. However, there’s more to explore from the album Hope in Hell including “Time Shows No Mercy” and “Badass Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

#9- Blood in the Ice

“Blood in the Ice” is one of the band’s concert staples of all time. The song serves as the album opening track of the band’s fifth studio album Pound for Pound. “Blood in the Ice” is quite an anthemic track kickstarting the album with pure energy and vigor. The song is among the emblems of Robb Reiner’s impressive drumming skills. Robb’s knack for blistering and aggressive drumming is still evident even in the band’s recent records making him a significant pillar in Anvil’s musicianship.

#8- This Is Thirteen

Coming in at the eighth spot on our top 10 Anvil songs list is the pulsating hit “This is Thirteen.” The song serves as the album title track of the band’s thirteenth full-length studio album. “This Is Thirteen” features some killer guitar riffs served to us by the band’s frontman Steve Kudlow. Glenn Five’s slamming hot basslines add some allure to this luscious heavy metal pick.

The album This Is Thirteen also features another classic “Burning Bridges,” a song featured in the 2009 film The Final Destination. However, it is the album’s title track “This Is Thirteen” that manages to encapsulate the band’s amazing lyricism and endured reign in the metal scene. “This Is Thirteen” alludes to bad luck throughout the world.

#7- March of the Crabs

It is no surprise that we feature the song “March of the Crabs” on our top 10 Anvil songs list. Metalheads from the ‘80s can easily point out this track as one of the best releases by the band Anvil. Despite being an instrumental track, “March of the Crabs” encapsulates Anvil’s influence in the North American speed metal scene. This instrumental track is among the songs that imparted speed metal influences in bands like Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, and Megadeth.

Lead vocalist Steve Kudlow aka Lips had something to say about the song’s title. He quoted in an interview that the title of the song was inspired by the guitar playing style in churning out its riffs. Lips quoted the hand movement to have mimicked the crab feet walking, hence “March of the Crabs.” The song went ahead to be featured on the soundtrack of the 2009 video game Brütal Legend.

#6- Juggernaut of Justice

Ranking sixth on our top 10 Anvil songs list is the hit “Juggernaut of Justice.” So far, something is quite evident—Anvil didn’t play when it came to album title tracks. In fact, a handful of the best Anvil songs in this list are album title tracks. “Juggernaut of Justice” serves as the album title track of the band’s fourteenth studio album.

Listening to the song, most of the band’s fans were like, “What a comeback!” “Juggernaut of Justice” is one of the concert-ready tracks thanks to the high energy experienced in its instrumentation. The song went ahead to feature on Anvil’s 2011 seventy-eight-minute compilation album Monument of Metal.

#5- Ghost Shadow

Absolutely metal! “Ghost Shadow” is by far Anvil’s best comeback into the metal scene. Issued in their most recent album Impact Is Imminent, the song “Ghost Shadow” is an emblem of Anvil’s newfound acclaim in the heavy metal/speed metal scene. Lips serve us with a taste of his signature heavy and blistering fast guitar riffs.

On the other hand, Robb Reiner’s impressive drumming skills pay homage to the ‘80s-Esque metal percussions. The song’s music video was directed by W. Cliff Knese. “Ghost Shadows” will definitely arouse the attention of Judas Priest, Raven, Accept, and Metal Church fans.

#4- Mad Dog

“Mad Dog” is yet another fan-favorite pick off Anvil’s catalog. The song is featured on the band’s fourth and only album to grace the Billboard 200, Strength of Steel. “Mad Dog” is quite a catchy (and humorous) pick! The song features a music video that opens with a young lady who shows interest in purchasing a dog. While at the park, the young lady’s bulldog transforms into a rocker!

Just like a “Mad Dog” the rocker behaves! This hilarious pick is however rivaled by the songs Straight Between the Eyes” and “Wild Eyes,” a cover of The Stampeders—both of the songs are featured on the soundtrack of the film Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers. Other artists who have issued a song by the title “Mad Dog” include Elastica, Pentagram, and Deep Purple, to name a few.

#3- Forged in Fire

Ranking third on our top 10 Anvil songs list is the electrifying hit “Forged in Fire.” The song serves as the opening track and album title track of the band’s third studio album. Lead vocalist Steve Kudlow revealed that the song “Forged in Fire” was musically inspired by the tracks “Battle Scar” by Max Webster and “Bridges of Sighs” by Robin Trower.

Lips revealed that a musical blend of the two picks guided him musically in crafting the song “Forged in Fire.” The song is somehow metaphoric of the band’s sound, that’s metal, which is “Forged in Fire.” “Forged in Fire” is by far one of the heaviest metal tracks by the band to date. The song was covered by Benediction and Sinister Realm.

#2- School Love

“School Love” is among the most sought-after concert staples of the band Anvil. The song is featured on the band’s debut studio album Hard ‘n’ Heavy. As the album title suggests, “School Love” and other songs on the LP are hard rock/heavy metal-tinged picks. The song brings out the vocal dexterity of Steve Kudlow.

Impressive drumming by Robb Reiner gives this track a head-banging feel. “School Love” is rivaled by other picks from the album including “AC/DC.” The song “School Love” was covered in 2013 by Savage Blade, a five-piece Canadian band known for rekindling the ‘70s and ‘80s-Esque hard rock/heavy metal sound.

#1- Metal on Metal

Proving unbeatable by any of the best Anvil songs is the energetic hit “Metal on Metal.” The song serves as the opening track and album title track of the band’s most conspicuous sophomore studio album. “Metal on Metal” is an ode to the metal genre referencing what it feels like to be in a metal concert.

Among the things expected to happen in a metal concert are heads banging, getting so high, and heat rising. Anvil reckons in the song that “Metal on Metal Never Will Die.” Quite a relatable lyric owing to the fact that the band has in recent years rekindled its mainstream appeal to both impressive veteran and rookie metal aficionados.

Top 10 Anvil Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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