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Anvil - Lips Kudlow Talks About The Band’s New Album Impact Is Imminent.

Land mines...

Impact Is Imminent is the 19th studio album from Canadian Metal pioneers Anvil. Friends since they were 14 years old, Anvil are centred around the core of vocalist and guitarist Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner. With the incredible Chris Robertson on bass completing the line up since 2014, Anvil are perhaps the strongest they’ve ever been, and this latest record is proof of that. Huge anticipation was built by the preceding stunning single Ghost Shadow, a full on track that perfectly represents what the whole album is all about: power, speed, meticulous metal rhythms and just sheer energy.  What fans might find a bit of a surprise is that there are also 2 instrumental tracks on the album, Teabag and Gomez. We catch up with Lips at home in Toronto to get the full story on these 2 tracks. As we will soon find out, there are some twists to the tale and even a test. Let’s see if Rock Today makes the grade...

Impact Is Imminent is an incredible album. One wonderful surprise is that there are two instrumental tracks that fans will be bowled over with when they hear them. Teabag and Gomez aren’t perhaps what people might expect from a metal instrumental but picking up on Teabag first, I love how the guitar, bass and drums get their own personal space in the track before you all come in together with this powerful wall of sound, and the track being interspersed with the amazing drum brakes. Gomez is essentially the same song as Teabag but with horn sections. Two very different approaches and they sound individually amazing – the same song but very different. Where did the inspiration come from, not just to create instrumental tracks but to show how different approaches to the same foundation can create hugely different results?

You know what’s really beautiful? These are placed on the album, particularly Gomez, so that you can tell when somebody’s listen to the album. If they don’t mention Gomez they didn’t listen to the album!

Is that true? Is that part of a test?

Fuck, yeah! (Laughs!) The first interview that I did for the album the guy didn’t mention one word about Gomez. So I started asking questions – he hadn’t listened to the album! Listen to the album! Like, how often does that happen? Well I’ll tell you, it happens more often than you want it to and a lot more than not. We’ve had these kind of things on various albums. It’s what I call ‘the trick question’. There’s ones on every record where there’s something blatantly there and if you don’t notice it or if you didn’t listen to the album you don’t have a comment about it. As an example, there is a song on Hope In Hell called Through With You, and what it is, I rewrote all the notes to Smoke On The Water and wrote a whole new song. 99.9% of people listen to that and go “Hey, it reminds me of Smoke On The Water!” and I go “correct!”. If you don’t say that you didn’t listen to the album! (Laughs!) It’s the trick questions in our songs. What happened with Teabag and Gomez, I originally put together Teabag and we’d gone to Germany and recorded the first version. The producer, Martin Pfeiffer, was flipping out going “Come on, Man, let me get my horns guys from my military band to do the horns for this!” But I go “I don’t want horns on it!“. The whole point is that I want to do a three-piece swing-style song like what we did on Juggernaut Of Justice called Swing Thing and I want to do it without horns. But he’s going “No, man! Let me do it – let me get horns!”. Then he comes to me with this proposition: “Lips, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to pay for the guys to do it - how’s that?”. So I thought “Okay” and he goes “If you do like it, I’ll pay the other half”. So I thought, ‘what is there to lose’, right? So I said “okay” and he sends the thing off to the horn players and it comes back a week later, we put it up on the fucking monitors and I just about shit my fucking pants! I couldn’t believe it! I just thought that it buried the original that I wrote to take horns. I wrote this one not to take horns and it’s better than the other one! So I go “Do you know what? I’ve got a really good idea” (to record 2 different versions of the song) and you won’t realise the impact in the same way without hearing the song without horns first. You’ve got to hear it naked to understand what it looks like dressed up. So what was really cool is that we only had 13 tracks but now we have 14 because we will name them two different things. So what are we going to name them? Well as it turns out, the guy who made our Anvil documentary (Anvil! The Story Of Anvil), Sacha Gervasi, we originally called him a Teabag. The obvious reason: English people and tea drinking, right?! We came to England, we meet this guy, he’s an English guy, he’s a teabag! So we started calling him Teabag. After the movie happened, it’s winning awards and all kinds of fucking shit, and Sacha goes to us with big bright eyes “Man, I’ve got the biggest fucking train set in the hole block and all the kids want to play with it!“. Robb (Reiner, drums) and I are just looking at each other and going “It’s Gomez Adams!“ (Laughs!) It’s like an eccentric millionaire blowing out on fucking train sets! That’s when it struck us, so we started calling him Gomez! So he has two nicknames. So I said “Well, what could be more fitting? We’ll call one Teabag and call the one Gomez!” and that was it.

As our conversation draws to a close, we hold our heads proud in the knowledge that we have passed the test! Impact Is Imminent a hugely stunning record and it is with the highest of recommendations that we invite you to head over to https://m.facebook.com/anvilmetal to find out more. In the meantime, check out the video to Ghost Shadow below.