Despite all the success that Anvil is enjoying now due to the popularity of the documentary movie Anvil! The Story of Anvil, the reason the band struggled for so many years, and never made it as big as most of their contemporaries, is the sad truth that they just weren't a very good band. Sure, they had a few solid album that's contained a handful of crankin' metal anthems, but for the most part, this band just never was able to churn out classic metal that other acts such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon, Motorhead, Metallica, Scorpions, and Megadeth were able to do from that same time period.
In 1989, with the release of Past & Present-Live in Concert, Anvil were hoping to resurrect a sagging career that, despite the somewhat successful releases Hard N Heavy, Forged in Fire, and Strength of Steel, seemed to be slipping out of their grasp while other similar acts were enjoying mega success. This live album served as an almost 'best of' set from Anvil, as it features many of their signature songs, such as "Forged in Fire", "Blood on the Ice", the sludgy, almost goofy "Metal on Metal", "666", and the mighty "Mothra". Early speed metal fare like "Motormount" and "Concrete Jungle" are given royal workouts here, and the epic pairing of "March of the Crabs" with "Jackhammer" (complete with a wild Robb Reiner drum solo) show that these guys could really deliver the metal goods when they wanted to.
Recorded at the Waters Club in Long Beach, California back in 1989, Past & Present-Live in Concert remains a testament to what could have been. Had even half of the material this band wrote wound up as strong as these songs, Anvil would have been one of the rulers of the metal world. As it stands, a dozen or so songs just didn't cut it, but thanks to Metal Mind Productions, this old Metal Blade live release can now be enjoyed again, especially those who are discovering Anvil for the first time thanks to the hit movie. There was no doubt much better heavy metal released in the 80's, but if you missed this band back in the day, you owe it to yourself to at least hear this batch of songs, all of which are played on this live set with plenty of energy and ferocity.
1) Concrete Jungle
2) Toe Jam
4) Forged in Fire
5) Blood on the Ice
6) March of the Crabs/Jackhammer
7) Metal on Metal/Winged Assassin