Back when I was a kid and Anvil was supposedly relevant, in the early to mid 80s, this band was the textbook definition of third (or even fourth) tier metal act.
Not that I remember them that much... I can recall somebody taping me some songs from Metal on Metal (their supposed masterpiece) around 1985 and always fast forwarding the cassette when they came up. They weren't really that bad, they just sounded lame, like some lesser talented Manowar with boring songs and no charisma. My best guess is that back in the day, some people outside Canada listened to them simply because they weren't that many bands to choose from, and that their rapid slide into irrelevance was more a consequence of their lack of talent rather than management and record label woes.
The movie makes a big deal about how important they were in shaping the early sound of thrash metal, but really, I don't see how this band could've influenced Metallica, Anthrax or anyone for that matter. While Venom, Diamond Head, Motörhead, Raven and Exciter had a seminal role bridging the NWOBHM with early thrash, Anvil was just a standard radio metal band that couldn't write good singles.
Now, don't get me wrong. I do admire these guys, but not because of their musical legacy, and being a guy who quit his own band at 26 and music altogether at 30 because juggling between two careers was too hard, I can't feel nothing but respect for this duo.
The Story of Anvil struck a chord on a lot of people because it's not really about an unsuccessful, over the hill heavy metal band: it's a testimony to friendship, never giving up on your dreams and the power music has on people.
Back when I saw this movie in 2010, I was so moved by it that I bought Metal on Metal and Forged in Fire. Sadly, both albums confirmed me, at 38, what I already knew at 12: this band's just not that good, or even mildly interesting.
That said, this documentary manages to be both a fun ride and an incredible study on human nature that any music lover will doubtlessly enjoy... and will be Anvil's ultimate legacy.
Notable DVD Extras:
Aside from a rather uninteresting commentary track, there are three enlightening deleted scenes. The first one features extra footage of Lips working as a caterer, the second, the story of Lips' older brother's medical problems, and the third, short "where are they now" style interviews with two original members who left the band in 1989. It's quite easy to see why said scenes were left in the cutting room floor: had the first two been included, the film's tone would've turned up too depressing, and the third one, while informative, would've hindered the documentary's narrative pace.