After viewing countless promotions for Anvil: The Story of Anvil on VH1’s That Metal Show and reading many rave reviews, I finally had the opportunity to watch the documentary for myself.
The film follows the two original members of Anvil, an 80’s thrash metal band that is still trying to find fame and fortune as rock stars. After observing bands such as Whitesnake, The Scorpions, and Bon Jovi “make it” in the business, frontman Steve “Lips” Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner are left behind wondering why they never had comparable success.
In the movie, Anvil travels to Europe to play a mismanaged tour full of empty bars and venues, missed trains, and tests of patience.
In one scene, the band is two hours late for a gig in Prague after getting lost traveling in an old dilapidated van. The band went on to perform, but the manager of the bar refused to pay Anvil, which led to a minor physical altercation between Lips and the manager.
Eventually, the band returns to their normal lives in Canada where Lips works as a deliveryman for a catering service that stocks school cafeterias. Lips and Rob later find themselves in Dover, England with famed producer Chris Tsangarides to record a new album. Luckily, Lips’ sister lends the money to the band to cover the recording expenses.
After nearly falling apart in England, Lips travels to Los Angelas to drop off copies of the new CD This is Thirteen to uninterested record labels. The documentary ends with a trumphant show in Japan, the band’s first in over 20 years, to a large audience, but still without a major record label supporting them.
Overall, the movie is beautifully captivating as the viewer will feel a genuine emotional connection to Rob and Lips (unless he or she is dead inside). However, the film fails to live up to the hype—a masterpiece, this is not.
It is a good film but falls just shy of the league in which you would find the likes of Heavy Metal In Baghdad, Some Kind of Monster, and The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years. Perhaps, the band is still writing a better ending as they tour in support of the film. You can check it out for yourself when VH1 Classic airs it later in the year -Meds
If you like this documentary then I also recommend Riphouse 151: Couldv’e Beens And Wanna Be’s