Did ANVIL Invent Speed/Thrash Metal?

Anvil 2019

During a recent interview with the That Metal Interview, ANVIL frontman Steve “Lips” Kudlow spoke about how he and his bandmates came up with the speed/thrash blueprint which paved the way for band like METALLICASLAYER and ANTHRAX.

When asked how ANVIL managed to create that sound first, Steve responded: “We’re older. What else am I gonna say? I’m two or three years older than those guys. End of story. I was in line first. [Laughs] Somebody had to do it. And let’s face it, it’s a different kind of situation.

“Our drummer, Robb Reiner, is a very, very spectacular, special drummer and inventive and innovative. So when I came up with speed riffs that I thought were like DEEP PURPLE and he’s playing double-bass drums to these kind of riffs, that was the invention of speed metal; people never heard that done before.

“And that’s an innovation that’s created between a guitar player and a drummer,” he continued. “Only a combination of that could do that — not a guitar player and a vocalist, but a guitar player and a drummer. That’s who’s gonna create that kind of music, because the faster you play and the more parts you put in, the less important vocals are, and that’s basically the direction which speed metal took, and that’s why there’s virtually no melody in speed metal, because you can’t — there’s no time to create a melody in the spaces that you make in the songs.

“And so it all goes hand in hand. So some of our stuff like ‘666’ is almost void of melody, but that’s the style,” Lips added. “That’s the stuff that everything — SLAYER listened to that and said, ‘Okay, let’s make a band around that sound.’ The syncopation and the ideas that were expressed in songs like ‘Jackhammer’ or even ‘March Of The Crabs’ became METALLICA. It’s actually quite interesting.”

ANVIL was formed in Toronto, Canada in 1978 by childhood friends Kudlow and Reiner. Both came from Jewish families and had been playing music together since their teens. The band now consists of Steve “Lips” Kudlow (vocals, guitar), Robb Reiner (drums), and Chris Robertson (bass).

Listen to full interview below.