Posted in Disc Reviews by David Annandale on November 1st, 2009
Decades after their moment in the sun in 1984, Canadian heavy metal band Anvil plugs along, playing bars and releasing CDs that barely sell, still hoping for that break that bypassed them while landing on their festival cohorts Whitesnake, Bon Jovi and the Scorpions. The documentary charts their new European tour that starts off promisingly but disintegrates into a disaster of Spinal Tap proportions, their struggle to produce and promote another new album, and a climactic return to the site of their past glory. While the opening minutes might engage laughter as one expects a real-life version of This Is Spinal Tap, the laughter is choked off almost immediately and replace by sympathy and real hope that these guys catch a break. They are not clowns – they have real talent – and the beyond-all-measure optimism of lead singer “Lips” is heartbreaking. A rock documentary to rank with the best of them, and one that proves that the absence of fame can be as compelling as its presence.