Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008) - 7/10
Updated: Apr 25
I’ve had my dalliances with 80s Heavy Metal as a kid, but I’d never heard of Anvil until this came out. There’s some pretty big names at the top singing their praises though. Members of Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, bloody Lemmy & Slash! Anvil are the band that never broke through. There at the start of something in the mid 80s. They influenced some bands that became household names, but it never really happened for poor Anvil. There’s a million bands like this truth be told. Bands with a loyal audience, but never big enough to sustain a career. They’ve never given up though. Still playing clubs, releasing self funded albums, working delivery jobs to make ends meet. You could say they’ve never grown up either. 30 years on, they still hope of living out their heavy metal dreams, “We wanna be rock stars!” This doc tells the story of their 2006 tour that sees them stumble around Europe. The crowds are modest, but enthusiastic. It’s like a real life Spinal Tap as they get lost in Prague, play gigs for free, miss trains. Band arguments start, management is a shambles. It’s raw and honest. They seem like nice guys. Grateful for the opportunity to play. Singer Lips and drummer Robb (Reiner... nope not kidding) are the core. Original members, lifelong friends. They bring the energy and dumb desperation. It’s often quite awkward, especially when they’re back home in Ontario, Canada. They clearly live for the music and get their hopes up once more as they plan to record their 13th album with a producer that they hope can take them over the top. First though they have to make the money to make the record and this is where the fun frivolity of the Spinal Tap comparisons stop. Lips trying his hand at telemarketing in particular is soul destroying. They’re putting a lot on the line. Testing the patience of their families and their relationships. Boy do you want them to succeed. What is success in music these days. It’s probably different now in 2021 than in was even 15 years ago, but you get the feeling that breaking even and garnering some recognition would be enough. The industry is tough though, will they ever reach the promise they thought they had in ‘84 with Lips playing a Flying V with a vibrator. The whole thing has an air of ‘This time next year...’. and you feel that this could actually work as a series. I don’t often say this, but I’d quite like a sequel. They released a new album in 2020, I’ve listened to it, it’s not for me, but I’d love to know how Lips and Robb are doing now.