Is there Hope in Hell? Rob & Lips speaks out!!
Canadian Metal Gods 'Anvil' are no strangers to the scene, having created metal in Canada in the late 70's/ early 80's the band released 'Hard & Heavy' back in 81. It was the breakthrough the band needed and ever since then they have continued to create some of the finest music ever to come out of Canada. Their 2nd album 'Metal on Metal' in 82 which saw the band taking their music to the next level. It was that album that most musician's say was the 1st Thrash Metal album, which they could not be wrong. I managed to catch my old friends in Manchester last month for an update interview and to talk about their new stunning album 'Hope in hell', released through Steamhammer. Here is what Lips and Rob had to say to the following question, so check out the new album, there is always hope in hell.
Ok guys, lets start my asking you why you decided to use Bob Marlette again for ‘Hope in Hell’ and are you happy with the end results for the new album?
(Both) “Well yes we are happy with Bob, he did the last album ‘Juggernaut of Justice’ and he asked us to go to his studio instead of Dave Grohl’s studio. Bob has worked with the following artist, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, Tool, Lynard Skynnard, his list is very song."
So what was the difference between the studio for ‘Juggernaut of Justice’ and the studio for ‘Hope in Hell’?
(L) “For me to be really honest with you I think the bear tracks sounded better on this album at G.R’s then at Dave’s studio.”
There is one song on the ‘This is Thirteen’ album which drops in the mix, what went wrong guys? It doesn’t sound right and do the album and band much justice sadly.
(R) “Well Chris Tsangarides became un hungry and lost his appetite towards the album".
(L) “To reveal the technical aspects, Chris was not diligent enough especially right at the end of the record . We took so much care in this record and pride getting it all recorded and mixed. But when I got a mastered copy of the album to make CD’s from he gave it too me in low resolution. This is why the album not very loud and it was a producers malfunction to be honest.” (R) “Well when you are spending all this money on a record that care about making more money than record that is what happens.”
OK, so how long did it take to record ‘Hope in Hell’? Also how did you see this album as a progression from the last 2 albums?
(L) “Well this album took the same amount of time as it took to record ‘Metal on Metal’ and the enter album was finished within a month."
(R) "We went in very prepared for this album and the last album we were less prepared for. Lips did a lot of the work in the studio writing his lyrics and figuring out parts for the record. For this album we went in and we knew everything that we wanted to do and Bob was extremely impressed with our professionalism."
(L) "We was really pleased with what of ‘Hope in Hell’ to what he did with the last album ‘Juggernaut of Justice’, he thought it was a lot better with better songs. Having worked with him previously it was like going to university and he brought at lot of thing to my attention that I never put a lot of thought into before."
"He told me that before you go in and write make sure that you musically & lyrically & vocally you identify you’re chorus lines. He said if you can listen to you’re piece of music without the singing and be able to tell were the courses are you have a well arranged song. It’s about getting one arrangement, one guitar sound & drums and been able to make out what the song is about and it is a really solid song. It’s like you know when the chorus is coming up and that is what he meant. Before we went in we structure the music properly to the way that he would accept it."
(R) “All in all it was more of a successful project than the others we had done. The production is a step up from the last album for sure.”
It’s good to see the Steamhammer have reissued some of you’re previous albums, that must feel good for you!
(R) "Yeah they have, the 1st few records actually. They have been re-mastered with new liner notes and the world if finally catching up to Anvil."
How long did it take to write the songs for the new album?
(L) “Well we came back from Bloodstock 2012 and we had only 3 songs wrote at that time and we when on to write from that point which took us about 3 months. We wrote a song about one to two weeks at a time. (Ed: As Sal contributed to the song writing since joining the band?)".
(R) "Well Sal is not involved in any of the song creating process at all."
(L) "I guess living in New York is part of it, the other part of it is that Rob & I have been writing the songs all along and we share together. The biggest mistake was giving credit to people were it was not due, because it became expectation and under that expectation people like Ian, G5 and others were getting credited and they didn’t write the songs. They become their own hype and it becomes to a point were you are giving away your own credit. When it is really you and you are giving it away to somebody else who didn’t do it. Does that really make sense? It seemed to at that point and pleased egos and at the end of the day it hurt us too and we just had enough. That is what actually happened.”
Are you still friends with the old band members?
(L) “Yes I am, other then Glen (G5) but that is his choice and it’s not as if I anything to do with him. He became very hostile towards the end. (Ed: Would you ever have a reunion with Ian and Dave?) That could be possible, I wouldn’t say it is impossible that’s for sure. We have talked about it, but I am not sure, as it would take about a year to get them back into it again. I think if we did it then it would have to be for the 1ts 3 albums only.”
You played with Motorhead this year again, like a reunion and it was the same tour we 1st met back in 83, I would have loved to have been there for that. How was that show?
(R) “It was a really great gig, I wish we could of done the Motorhead tour in the fall, like a 30 year anniversary and it should of really happened. I don’t know why it didn’t happen they chose to go with Saxon. (Ed: It would of been all 3 bands on that bill, you as the opening act). That is up to the promoter, it’s all about business, and the people who work for them don’t even know what’s going on. There the cancer to the whole fucking music business, they don’t have a fucking clue to what’s going on. Giving something to the fans and what the people want they don’t have a fucking clue Jason. It bothers me so sadly, I could put together a great package that would sell out any place.”
Getting back to the album, why the title ‘Hope in Hell’, who came up with the title for the album?
(L) “Well it was me that came up with the title, I was going to call it ‘Piece by Piece’, but we were wondering how we would spell that and how would we make the album cover? We could of made a jigsaw puzzle but what would the picture be (laughing)? So I said ‘This has not got a hope in hell working?’ I then said wait a minute there is the title ‘Hope in Hell’, and that is how it came to be.”
The artwork for the album is interesting, the Anvil as Noah Ark based around a aircraft carrier. So who’s idea was it to come up with that artwork?
(L) “Again that was my idea, what happened was I sent the album title to the artist and he sent back an email saying well my vision is an anvil sitting in the desert in an oasis He said he had a great idea of Noah’s Ark in hell, so I said that is what it has to be. I said it has to be an Ark that looks like an anvil but has to be identified as a ship, which is a aircraft carrier. On the top you can out people, ambulances, make it look like a place of hope & rescue."
The whole of the earth is hell, so the only hope you have is to get on the boat. Christoph Schinzer did the artwork and we had been working with him for a few albums and he is a Anvil fan like you.
"He has worked with us since ‘Still going Strong’ album and he does a killer job at a good price. The artwork at 1st was to be in the water but it didn’t look right so we had to use a sea of larva, Rob, loved it. I want to have a black album cover with a white outline of an anvil some day and that will be out biggest selling album to date. (Ed: A bit like the Black album by Metallica?) yeah right haha!)".
So what songs on the new album stand out for you and why?
(R) “Well I think the song ‘Mankind Machine’ and the new record is a template of lots of different styles of rock. It does have the typical Anvil style songs, and having songs like ‘Badass Rock & Roll’ we have not done rock & roll like that since ‘Metal on Metal’. (Ed: I have noticed you have a lot of Tony Iommi in you’re guitar style Lips) Yeah I have (laughing). We have some of our new album already wrote for 2014. I like ‘Eat your Words’, which is really cool and Rob likes ‘Call of Duty’, and ‘Time shows no Mercy’ and every song has it’s own little thing and ‘Shut the fuck Up’ is like Anvil Punk. (Ed: So who inspired you to do a Punk style song?)"
(R) "It was actually a metal song until Lips started singing, which gave it another appearance. It really has a Motorhead feel to it to be honest. We both also like ‘The fight is never Won’, it is as Anvil will ever sound, something like ‘Free as the Wind’.”
Are there any songs on the new album, which you thought could have been better?
(L) “On this album I don’t have any of those feels that I had on the other albums. If I think about the last album ‘Juggernaut of Justice’ I don’t like the songs ‘This Ride’ & ‘Not Afraid’ there just not that good. I think ‘This Ride’ was very disappointing as the lyrics are really bad and it was an experiment to try a different to let somebody else do the lead vocals and it is un Anvil, it is almost out of place. I think it would have been a better song if I had written the lyrics myself and sang it myself, it does not have the right texture. The other song ‘Not Afraid’ is too light for the album."
Are you doing a promo video for this album yet and if so which song?
(L) “We are going to do that soon, We will do 2 videos for the songs ‘Badass Rock n Roll’ and ‘Eat your Words’. They will be us playing, no concepts at all.”
In the past you have had bad experiences with labels but now you seem to be on a good roll with Steamhammer & The End, how are things going with them?
(R) “Well SPV have been really good to us so far, The End have been good to us too. They don’t have a real lot of money but they have re-released all the old albums. Massacre records were a great label for us, they were dedicated to the band and that is impressive and they released 6 albums for us. Only bad thing was all those albums were not produced properly that is why they have been re-mastered.”
So what reviews has the new album been getting?
(R) “The reviews have been great so far, the main stream press have slated but fuck the mainstream, what the fuck do they know anyway? It’s people like you who look after the bands Jason."
(L) “In our home town they say these guys have not grown up” (Ed: if there slating your album than it will increase you’re sale won’t it?) Yeah it will and we are what the fans say not what the mainstream media say.”
Moving on when will the band be finally doing a live DVD? It’s about time you did one as you only have ever done one from the early Wacken festival 98, which is now deleted.
(L) “We would love to do one, we need a big anvil production and it is long over due. (Ed: It could be the Saxon tour where they had the little Anvil on stage, a bit like Spinal Tap haha) Oh yeah we remember that (laughing), we have that at our rehearsal place. We have no plans to release one yet, we have to do it right. (Ed: You could come out of a risen dildo and the doors open and you come out of it Lips, what would be funny haha!) Yeah it would (laughing)."
(R) “The AC/DC train would be a joke compared to what we would do, we would do a heavy metal style haha. Just think of a mechanical Anvil with the drums in the middle. I want to be lowered into the crowd in a shark cage and I just play ‘March of the Crabs’. People would pay to see this I tell you.”
Are you planning on doing any festivals this year? If so where? How was the ‘Steel House’ festival for you with Saxon?
(L) “We are doing Wacken in Germany, we are also playing with Metallica in Singapore and one in Belgium and Sweden. The ‘Steel House’ festival in the UK was good, but it rained all day.”
Well guys it’s always a pleasure meeting and hanging out with you. Best of luck with the album sales and tours. Do you have anything to say before we finish?
(L) “Yeah thanx to our fans for their support, we hope you enjoy the new album and please come out and check us out life. Thanx Jason.
(R) "Thanx for the support metal heads, keep supporting metal and see on the road. Cheers Jase."