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Anvil Chorus - The Killing Sun CD

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Anvil Chorus - The Killing Sun CD. Nearly 3 decades after the group's formation and a couple years after their recent reformation, this legendary underground San Francisco progressive heavy metal band unleashes their first full length debut album for the Rockadrome label. Consisting solely of newly recorded material from their early 80s heyday, it's destined to be the classic album everyone has long awaited from this magical group. Led by guitarist Thaen Rasmussen and vocalist/bassist Aaron Zimpel (who have also had roles in various bands such as Heathen, Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, Release and Control), the integrity of their original sound is fully maintained and should please anyone who has followed the band through the years or owned any of their heavily circulated demo tapes. A 12-page color booklet with liner notes written by San Francisco metal legend Ron Quintana (KUSF/Metal Mania), cover art by Mark Devito (Motorhead) and packed with lyrics and photos, completes this magnificent and much anticipated release.

Anvil Chorus. The name itself suggests something a little more than the typical hard rock band; something intelligent and complex, even sophisticated -- and they were. Anvil Chorus made a thinking man's metal. There was such a thing and it wasn't thought of as a style, just good music that put some structure and challenge into a normally repetitive form. Clearly influenced by the prevailing titans of progressive rock and heavy metal of the day, Anvil Chorus was a fount of unique inspirations. A group of talented individuals, half of them multi-instrumentalists and all of them bringing to the table a creative flair. The composition, arrangement and melodic skills enjoyed a harmonic and contrapuntal implementation that was delivered crushingly… hugely. The sound was Big with a capital “B”. The guitar harmonies, keyboard wizardry and bottled-lightning rhythm section were a powerful collision. Heavy riffs, catchy melodies, belting vocals and a refined aesthetic completed the signature sound; Anvil Chorus, in the early 1980’s, rightly earned a buzz of their own for their unique and exquisite style, which to this day continues to be regarded as significant and influential.

Musicians featured on the recording include:

Aaron Zimpel – Vocals, Bass, Synthesizer
Thaen Ramussen – Guitar, Vocals
Joe Bennett – Drums
Phil Bennett - Keyboards, Piano, Hammond B3
Doug Piercy – Guitar (Deadly Weapons, Red Skies, Man Made Machines, Death of a Dream, Tales, Blade, Once Again, Such is Life)

Additional musicians:
Carlos Hernandez – Guitar (Death of a Dream)
Mark Bradley – Piano (Once Again)
Jon Simon - Keyboards (Once Again)

Produced by Thaen Rasmussen and Aaron Zimpel. Recorded at: Denmark Studios, San Francisco CA., Bennett Studio, Walnut Creek CA., Redlight Studio, Martinez CA. Mixed and Mastered By Damien Rasmussen @ Catacombs, San Francisco

Anvil Chorus 2009's touring line-up is:
Aaron Zimpel, Thaen Rasmussen, Carlos Hernandez, Steve Kilgore

Track Listing:

  1. Deadly Weapons
  2. Red Skies
  3. Phase to Phase
  4. Man Made Machines
  5. After Time
  6. Death of a Dream
  7. Blue Flames
  8. Tales
  9. The Blade
  10. European
  11. Such is Life
  12. Once Again

Total Running Time: [57:03]


“These new recordings on this disc are representative of some of the best moments of those years when Metal was evolving from the depths of obscurity to becoming the huge force it was in the eighties. This Music is Awesome!” - Ron Quintana KUSF/Metal Mania

"Just imagine what it would have been like if there had only existed a demo version of “Saints In Hell” up until now and Priest had finally recorded it like the monster you knew it was and laid it on you full-force. That’s what this sum-bitch is like. Ignoring “The Killing Sun” is not an option. Buy it now." - Raysrealm

"9.5 / 10" -

"The Killing Sun is so “expensive”-sounding and flawlessly executed one quickly forgets the historical tie, save for the interesting mix of styles that builds and envelops as this engaging album plows on, most amusing being the touch of Saga or Kansas to an otherwise kickin’ Shrapnel/Metal Blade/Queensryche EP-aggressive record." - Brave Words

"Anvil Chorus was ahead of their time. The way that they mix progressive music with heavy metal was just not done back then, at least not to the extent that they did. These guys can play." - Sea of Tranquility

"The Killing Sun" delivers everything an old-school prog metal fan could want: heaviness, daring musicianship, and great songs. -

"Overall, The Killing Sun is a magnificent effort from the long neglected Anvil Chorus, a strong and well appreciated dose of classic melodic heavy metal. Strongly recommended." -

"This is the album of the year, period. San Francisco based Progressive Heavy Metallers Anvil Chorus have been re united and their comeback album is a real masterpiece." -

From Germany's HEAVY MAG!:


Prog Metal
Issue Date:
Thaen Rasmussen, Aaron Zimpel
Country of Origin:
Made In:



this recordis almost perfect Iwent to all the A.C. shows backin the day these guys were amazing but why didnt they record thier best songs like on the ground or no hart or the most amazing song ever writen "RELUCTANT HEROS" I guess they have to many killer tunes to record them all but I love tis record it just kills I do miss bill skinners base playing bill was the original bassist/keyboard player and main song writer so why isnt he on this record I saw hewas involved in the 2004reunion rehearsal {snakpit magazine } killer 15page artical with photos look it up . I got the original 14 song demo " thought crimes"on cd. from the adress in the artical and it kills the drums arnt loud enough but it was recordedlive in 1983 and bills bass is so f'en amazing its like geddy lee and pete way and gezer and steve harris all melded solid riffy melodic creative powerfull and totally connected with the drums and Imiss that on 'THE KILLING SUN" but arrons bass playing is solid hes trying to keep bills flavor but keep his own thing and the tone is great I just keep wanting to here bills killer bass playing so wereis he now ????
I've been a fan of Anvil Chorus since Steve Holt (may he R.I.P.) turned me on to them in 1981. I took guitar lessons from Thaen and then starting sharing a rehearsal studio with them. I began helping the band out by recording their live shows, eventually becoming their soundman until they split up in the late 80s. In all that time they wrote dozens of great songs, and I loved EVERY SINGLE ONE! Every member of the band, current and former, demonstrated monstrous talent and creativity. I am absolutely thrilled with this release...and I've been waiting a long freaking time for it! Thank you, Anvil Chorus!
I had AC's "Blondes In Black/Once Again" 7" (1982) and a 14-track demo tape (1983) back in the 80´s. I loved them both and waited for an LP, which never came. I was puzzled. The band had it all: awesome songs, technical brilliance and their own style. So why, why weren't they signed to a major label?!

Now we finally get AC's first album thanks to Rockadrome label. Most of the 12 songs were on that 14-track demo tape, which was stolen from me almost 20 years ago. When I spinned the CD for the first time in my player, I recognized them all - and I was hooked again immediately.

Forget the clichéd cover picture and the average album title, this is sophisticated and original first class prog metal; moody, catchy and powerful. The secret of Anvil Chorus is their knowledge of the history of rock music. They are influenced by classic 60's pop & rock, 70´s progressive rock & epic heavy rock and 80´s new wave & stadion rock, which they infuse together and make their own kind of prog metal. And make no mistake, it's definately PROG and it's definately METAL.

The trademark of the band is the combination of imaginative harmonic twin lead guitar fireworks and Aaron Zimpel's elegant vocals with Thaen Rasmussen's compact vocal harmonies. No matter if the basis of the song is in the 70's progressive rock a lá Rush ("Tales"), in the 80's new wave ("European") or stadion rock ("Once Again"), or in the hard hitting heavy metal riffery ("Deadly Weapons", "Man Made Machines" and "The Blade"), they make the song sound their own.

Production and mixing are excellent, making almost a classic Phil Spector style wall of sound. Maybe you can say it sounds a bit dated analog vinyl LP sound, or you can say it's a timeless sound. Either way, the sound is multi-layered, warm and rich. I recommend listening to the CD also with headphones; you notice the clever use of keyboards better. They are seldom dominant, but frequently there, under surface, making one important layer more.

I could rave about each song of the album - diversity and unexpectedness in song structures, styles and moods - but hey, find out yourselves! And now I probably know why Anvil Chorus were never signed to a major label. They were too mature and intelligent as a metal band, too risky for the major labels. A way ahead of their time.
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