Since 1978, Anvil has become one of heavy metal's most influential yet commercially unsuccessful acts. In 2006, after a fledging European tour Anvil sets out to record their thirteenth album and continue to follow their dreams.
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At 14, best friends Robb Reiner and Lips made a pact to rock together forever. Their band, Anvil, hailed as the "demi-gods of Canadian metal, " influenced a musical generation that includes Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, despite never hitting the big time. Following a calamitous European tour, Lips and Robb, now in their fifties, set off to record their 13th album in one last attempt to fulfill their boyhood dreams. Written by
The Sundance documentaries I look forward to every year are usually heavy insights into social injustices or political atrocities. So when I first heard about "Anvil!", I admit I was expecting a goofy, cheesy film. Fortunately, my expectations were blown away during the world premiere at Sundance.
Director Sacha Gervasi demonstrated that the love of a fan and the 30 year bond between best friends and band mates can be just as powerful and compelling subject matter as found in any other documentary.
I was impressed by the film's artistry. Sacha's profiles revealed rich characters, human and lovable. Lead singer "Lips" has a wonderful, sensitive, child-like personality full of emotion and hope. He seems completely without guile, open and transparent. It contrasts nicely with drummer Robb Reiner's more quiet, thoughtful and intellectual presence.
The photography was stunning. There were some very poetic moments like a quiet scene after a fight between band members in Dover where a solitary band member walked through a field with a stormy wind whipping the vegetation and waves angrily crashing in the turbulent seas in the background. Or after wonderful news, the camera followed Lips outside of the house then panned to the window with a black cat sitting inside, then shifting focus to fresh flowers growing in the yard. It was lovely mirror of Lip's amazing ability to leave bad luck (the cat) behind and savor the beauty of a fresh new opportunity.
This was the first documentary that I remember hearing the audience actually cheer out loud during the movie. After the film Sacha was received with thunderous applause, and and instant standing ovation when the band took the stage.
It's been years since I've listened to metal, but I was surprised at how enjoyable the music was...especially Robb's brilliant drumming. So, I'll sign-off now and head over to www.anvilmetal.com and purchase my first metal album in 15 years.
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