Diehard fans of a genre tend to be tribally protective of it — hence, “true” black metallers’ fervent opposition to anything they deem false. New York City’s Black Anvil garners an unhealthy amount of criticism from these fans due to its members’ past participation in hardcore bands (namely, Kill Your Idols). It’s as if a musician is forever conscripted to one scene and commits treason by venturing beyond it. Thankfully, Black Anvil is happy to break rank.
Though often described as black metal, Black Anvil is a complex fusion of death metal, doom, and thrash. Its debut has some black metal moments, such as goblin shriek vocals and the occasional tremolo-picked minor-key chords. But most black metal avoids production as clean and corpulent as that of Time Insults the Mind (Monumentum, 2008 / Relapse, 2009), and few would give it a valid stamp of BM approval.
Guitarist Gary Bennett employs chunky riffing, sparingly using solos. His economic style gives the band a rhythmic, pulsating tone. At times, Black Anvil evokes the almost-industrial lockstep of NYC antecedent Prong (most present on the appropriately-titled “And You Thought You Knew Pain!”). Like Prong, Black Anvil distills unbridled aggression into meticulously precise songs. Though the band could benefit from explorating different tempos and time signatures, Black Anvil still forges a confident debut.