Recording information: The Ecology Room, Kingsdown, England.
While Anvil never really got the chance to make a bid for mainstream success, and it's too late now -- they've got an affectionate documentary about themselves, the success of which has gotten them a deal to release this album, but the industry just doesn't make stars anymore, certainly not in metal. The best Anvil can hope for is that they'll be able to go out (or carry on for a few more years, if they choose to do so) with some self-respect. Luckily, THIS IS THIRTEEN is more than good enough to achieve that goal. The production by Chris Tsangarides, who worked with the band in the early '80s, showcases their still impressive instrumental skills, and while the lyrics range between functional and boneheaded, Steve "Lips" Kudlow's voice is powerful, reminiscent of Ian Gillan on the more midtempo material and Suicidal Tendencies' Mike Muir on the thrashier tracks. Most of the songs on THIS IS THIRTEEN are in more of a traditional hard rock/metal vein than the proto-thrash of Anvil's peak years, though "Axe to Grind" and "Game Over" prove that they can still muster a headlong assault that would put young retro acts like Warbringer, Fueled By Fire et al.