The album takes music from all across the band’s thirty-year career. Almost every Anvil studio album old and new is represented by at least one track, even their 2011 release Juggernaut Of Justice. The only omissions are 1983’s Forged In Fire and their 1981 debut album Hard ‘N’ Heavy, although tracks that were originally from these albums are featured in re-recorded forms, as indeed are two tracks from 1982’s Metal On Metal album.
Despite the tracks being taken from all different eras with all different sorts of production jobs, the music actually does manage to flow reasonably well together and this release serves as an enjoyable record to listen to as well as just an introduction to the band’s various styles and eras.
The sound for the most part is somewhere harder, heavier and often faster than traditional Heavy Metal, but not quite strictly Thrash Metal all the time either. Perhaps the earlier and more Priest/Saxon/Maiden influenced Thrash debut albums like Overkill’s Feel The Fire and Anthrax’s Fistful Of Metal are the best place to begin comparisons if you really need to, although this still doesn’t properly convey the band’s sound.
How much you will enjoy the album is of course purely subjective and every negative can be seen as a positive depending on your tastes. For example, how people see the lyrics can vary between fun eighties cheese or just plain silly and some of the track’s production jobs aren’t the best in the world but this adds to the classic feel and overall charm.
Overall, if you have an interest in Anvil but aren’t yet a full on fan then this is a great and inexpensive way to test the waters and find out whether or not they are for you. If you are lucky, by the time you’ve made your decision the majority of their catalogue will be remastered and repackaged in digipak form, so you can start a high quality collection if you so choose. At the very least you can get an album with most of the tracks that were featured in the aforementioned documentary film.