17 October 2009

The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Toronto

Anvil: The Story of Anvil is like a living embodiment and subsequent sequel to the Mountain Goats song "The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton". The documentary which chronicles the career of the little known, yet enduring metal band Anvil, focuses on the brother-like partnership between lead singer Lipps and drummer Rob. Friends since childhood they essentially are Darnielle's Jeff and Cyrus, practicing through their teenage years dreaming of "stage lights and leer jets and fortune and fame". And they almost get there, playing prominent festivals in the 80s with the likes of Bon Jovi.

Yet unlike their famous peers they never receive a lick of recognition. Chalk it up to bad management, a pre-Metallica marketplace or just rotten luck, but whatever the case may be Anvil still crank out album after album, all while maintaining dreary day jobs in their hometown of Toronto.

The filmakers do a great job humanizing these guys by showing their ordinary daily lives, so alike to yours and mine. Watching Lipps work a menial job, schleping school lunches for a catering service or even just catching a glimpse of them sitting at the dinner table with their wives and children, you completely empathize with their desire to simply rock for a living, especially after toiling in the industry for over thirty years.

In one scene, one of the guy's sisters condescendingly remarks in the exact words of Mr. Darnielle, that the band is still "dreaming the dream". But you and I know better. NEVER punish a person for dreaming their dream and if you do, don't expect to be thanked or forgiven. Anvil learned this through rough personal experience. And we root for them, oh do we root for them, as they attempt to overcome such detractors. Jeff and Cyrus would be proud. Hail Satan!

The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton - The Mountain Goats (Live at the Bowery Ballroom, NY Oct. 1, 2007)

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