Canadian thrash-metallers Anvil were part of the late 70’s / early 80’s heavy mental scene, touring with some of the biggest names in the genre: Scorpions, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi etc. Unable to achieve anywhere near the subsequent success of their peers, Anvil generally fell under the radar. Still performing and recording, the two original members Robb Reiner and Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow attempt to keep the rock n’ roll dream alive whilst also working part time jobs, dealing with incompetent management and frequent in-band spats.
The documentary gives us a history of the band, follows them on a European tour and sits in on the recording sessions of their latest album.
The film is ridiculously entertaining and in parts rather moving. With interviews from legends in the field such as Slash, Lars Ulrich, Lemmy and Scott Ian (who all speak very fondly of the band) it is quite strange that such a dedicated, hardworking and clearly talented thrash metal band never rose to the heights of their fellow rockers.
The obvious comparison to this film would be This is Spinal Tap, a ‘mockumentary’ about a fictitious 80’s rock band. In parts, The Story of Anvil does play out like that. There are painfully funny moments, usually involving the band’s tour manager, who’s broken English and lack of expertise often lands them in ridiculous situations. At it’s heart though, the film is a touching tale of friendship, loyalty and perusing your dreams. It was one of my favourite films of 2008 and one of my favourite documentaries to date.