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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good second album - but how good is this reissue on CD?
It's interesting that Steve Strange stated in his auto-biog that most of the lyrics were thrown together for this album, due to the bands' lifestyle at the time, as only on tracks like "Wildlife" is this apparent. The first 4 tracks (vinyl side 1) work brilliantly together, the harder album mixes of "The Anvil" and "Night Train" being far more coherent than the John...
Published on 7 Mar 2008 by M. B. Wilson

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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Without rose-tinted specs, not great
As a former New Romantic, I've got fond memories of Visage, as a lot of people of a certain age do. I remember loving "The Damned Don't Cry" and "Night Train", and used to have this album. Listening to it again now, after a quarter century, have to say I don't think it's particularly good.
The album is front-loaded with the better tracks (the 2 singles mentioned...
Published on 24 Aug 2009 by Darren Jones


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good second album - but how good is this reissue on CD?, 7 Mar 2008
By 
M. B. Wilson "crushtrash" (Bristol) - See all my reviews
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It's interesting that Steve Strange stated in his auto-biog that most of the lyrics were thrown together for this album, due to the bands' lifestyle at the time, as only on tracks like "Wildlife" is this apparent. The first 4 tracks (vinyl side 1) work brilliantly together, the harder album mixes of "The Anvil" and "Night Train" being far more coherent than the John Luongo single mixes (although they are also good in their own right). "Move Up" is a personal favourite too, and whilst "Horseman" and "Look What They've Done" are strong tracks the rest of the album is far more low-key.

Having worked through the cassette and vinyl issues I was fortunate enough to get the US 1997 One-Way issue (with the two unrelated bonus tracks) at a sensible price at the time. So what does this CD reissue on Cherry Pop offer the fan, and is it good value?

Value isn't a question here, the US CD goes for silly prices as long deleted, so it's good news for any Visage or 80s music fan that they have reissued the album with additional bonuses. On their website Cherry Red were obviously looking for digital quality sources of "Motivation" and "I'm Still Searching" (plus "Night Train dub"), but not surprisingly they didn't find any, so the b-sides are sourced from vinyl (surface noise is apparent on "I'm Still...", but nothing worse than that).

The first 11 tracks are exactly as per US CD, and don't seem to have been re-eq'd atall (I'm assuming they took straight from that release). As a result the album sounds a little flat, especially compared to the earlier 12" b-side material which is far more punchy. It must be stressed Cherry do not state anywhere that this is a remaster (some naughty sellers are!) and it clearly isn't. However the sound is perfectly acceptable throughout for a budget reissue.

Why they picked the 3 "Mind Of A Toy" 12" dance tracks amongst the bonuses is anyone's guess, bearing in mind good sources have already been used on CD releases of "Night Train Dance mix" and "Pleasure Boys Dance Mix". Also one would've thought a decent 12" copy of "Anvil (Luongo remix)" existed, and there would've been room if they'd dropped the earlier era material.

The liner notes are nicely produced however, giving a general Visage history (not focussing on this album) with scans of the various single sleeves and related press art. Far far better than the poor US inlay :-)

Buy it if you're a fan and haven't got the US version, as it may not be around for long. The b-sides may be from vinyl but they definitely deserve to be here (this is the real Visage "Motivation" track) and overall hats off to Cherry for getting the rights to release this underrated 'classic' of its time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The second album but never second-rate, 7 April 2008
The debut Visage album took a lot of beating in terms of the quality of the songwriting, musicianship (even John McGeoch who regarded it as "a joke") and production. The Anvil is two steps further on.

The Damned Don't Cry is one of the finest songs Visage ever wrote: there's just something about Strange's rather wistful vocal and the tight melodic hooks. What else stands out? The Horseman, Midge Ure's strident guitar cutting across the whole thing to compelling effect. Check out Wild Life and the closing track Whispers too - the girls whispering "Wake up...." is just brilliant.

Visage were never this strong again. Ure left after the infamous camel fiasco, Night Train was remixed by "some US guy" (Luongo) and Ure asked for his name to be taken off the credits. Visage as a studio project were rarely in the same place together to write, rehearse and record and Ure and Billy Currie needed to concentrate more on Ultravox who had seen huge success after Vienna hit big internationally.

If you only ever buy three Visage albums, buy Visage, The Anvil and the best of (or even the Singles Collection if you can find it!) as they represent Visage at the height of their powers. As for Beat Boy, don't get me started!!!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An underrated 80s Classic, 13 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Anvil Bonus Tracks (Audio CD)
Although famous for the "Fade to Grey" single, this is Visage at their best. The album contains two singles "The Dammned Dont Cry" and "Night Train" which met with some success, but the album as a whole is just great. With the help of Ultravox members including Midge Ure, this goes down as the best album of its kind. However it has taken me years to find this album on CD, but my long search was over when I found 1 copy in a famous London Record shop. The CD contains some bonus tracks which are ok, but its the original album that demands your attention. If your a fan of bands like Ultravox, OMD etc, then give this a listen (if you can get a copy!), you will not be dissapointed !!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Graceful and Flowing, Sensual and Glowing, 5 Jan 2010
By 
Stevie M. (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
Originally released in 1982, "The Anvil" was an altogether more polished affair than Visage's 1980 debut album. Not that there was anything wrong with the first album, but by the time of "The Anvil", the band's personnel had become more accomplished and successful outside of their part-time Visage project. Most notable were Midge Ure and Billy Currie who had by then achieved tremendous success with Ultravox (particularly with "Vienna"), and brought the same cinematic sound with its lush, cool synthetics and echoing piano to Visage. Steve Strange himself, whilst never the best singer in the world, was now a bona-fide trendsetter rather than just another Bowie/Bolan/Ferry wannabe. Famed for his cutting-edge sartorial style, he was both pop star and fashion icon, a combination which made him a more prominent and glamorous frontman for a band made up of more seasoned musicians. In addition to his parallel career as a leading nightclub impresario, he was the king of hip - at least for a while anyway since the likes of Duran Duran were already nipping at his heels and Boy George was waiting in the wings, ready to steal his crown.

Only two tracks were released as singles in the UK, the atmospheric "Damned Don't Cry" and the bold, vivacious "Night Train". The latter was remixed for its release as a single and it's a shame that neither the single version, or the superior 12" extended dance mix, were included here since they have more pizazz than the original album version. Although both of these songs were perfectly fine as singles, the album contains even better material. "Again We Love" is simply the finest Visage song ever. Yes - it's even better than "Fade To Grey". With its glossy, elegant production, it does what Visage do best by blending moody atmospherics with new wave disco. It's a sin that it was never released as a single. "The Horseman" and "Look What They've Done" are further missed opportunities for chart hits, the latter with its dramatic sound and emotive, bitter lyrics. The title track and "Move Up" are dance rockers with a slightly harder edge to them, reminding us that Visage weren't just a synth band and that you can have good dance music with guitars in the mix. "Wild Life" is similarly energetic with its driving bass and rattling percussion, whilst the ethereal instrumental "Whispers" is a pleasant departure, sounding like something from a film score and slightly reminscent of the kind of music that David Sylvian's Japan were making around that time.

The six extra tracks on this Cherry Red Records release are a mixed bag, half of them better suited to the first album (three tracks from the "Mind Of A Toy" 12" single). Also present is "Motivation" (the B-side to "The Damned Don't Cry") which also sounds a little like earlier Visage and could easily have been an offcut from the first album. However, despite the glaring omissions of the "Night Train" remixes, at least we have its excellent, moody B-side, "I'm Still Searching". The inclusion of the lesser known "Pleasure Boys" single (and its 12" dance mix) would also have been fitting, as would the different versions of the title track "The Anvil".

"The Anvil" was Visage's highest charting album (no.6) and whilst it didn't achieve the same level of chart longevity as their first album, it certainly surpassed it in terms of quality and style. Right down to the black & white Helmut Newton photograph on the cover with Steve Strange in his Antony Price outfit, this is a luxury experience. Unfortunately, it also marked the end of Visage's all-too-brief golden era. Midge Ure (and later Billy Currie and Dave Formula) would leave the band following its release, taking their very apparent songwriting and production skills with them, and the band would never make anything this good again. To many, Visage will only be remembered for "Fade To Grey". As superb as that song was, "The Anvil" contains more treasures which (had they been released as singles) could well have eclipsed it. I suppose we'll never know but kudos to Cherry Red Records for a long overdue CD reissue of this forgotten gem of an album. 9 out of 10.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Romantics Revisited, 26 Oct 2008
By 
P. Winn (Liverpool, merseyside United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Iam glad this Visage album has finally been released, this was an excellent album for the time and captured the New Romantic Movement at it's best. Sound on this album is good if not excellent. The extra tracks are great especially Damned don't cry 12" and Mind of a toy 12". Brings back some nice memories. This abum is heavily influenced by Midge Ure/Boys and almost sounds like Ultravox in some parts,Steve Strange adds the glitz and polish to the overall production. Sleeve notes are very informative also, pity Polydor could'nt of done the same years ago, as this is a major album from the 80's era. Great Purchase for 80's fans.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a fantastic 80's album, 6 Mar 2008
By 
P. D. Mcnally "paul28113" (rugby, england) - See all my reviews
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I couldn't believe my luck when i saw that this album is being releashed i have seen copies on some web sites that want as much as 400.00! so i am very pleased! Anyway enough said. For me everyone associates Visage with fade to grey and the first album. Personally i think the second album 'the anvil' is far better and consistently at a higher level to the first album. If you like Ultravox, john foxx, duran duran etc... you know the type of music. Then this will be a real treat. For me this is one of the all time great 80's albums.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Visage album, 21 Mar 2005
This review is from: Anvil Bonus Tracks (Audio CD)
I think this album was originally slated as 'moody & self indulgent'. Moody, yes but not self indulgent (I could name plenty that were around the time of release!) I think this was definatly one of the most unique and best collections of music in the early Eighties & even though the imagery may obviously be dated now I feel that the songs have not (except the jaunty 'Night Train' maybe which sounded more commercial than the rest even then)
The vocals of Steve Strange (backed by the gorgeous Perry & Lorraine)the germanic drum beats, echoing surreal piano tinkling and the brilliant metal-twisting distorted sound of Midge Ure's lead guitar all makes the whole album superb. (It was interesting to hear Roxy Music's 'Street Life' song recently & you can see how it inspired the track 'Wild Life'.)Also, the quality of recording was not brilliant... listen out for the noise in 'Whispers'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At long last!!!, 7 Mar 2008
By 
S. Reid "happy_daze" (Liverpool) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I couldnt believe my luck when I saw this album had been re-released, I've been searching for a cd copy for years. This album is far superior to their debut and the best thing the collective (they were never really a band) ever did. Lush production, layered and textured with more emphasis on actual songwriting this was one of the soundtracks to my youth.

The extra tracks look interesting as well. Cant wait!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The quintessential New Romantic album from the best New Romantic Band, 27 April 2011
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This album, along with Ultravox's Rage in Eden, are the Best New Romantic Albums of all time. Beautiful, atmospheric syth soundscapes and electronic dance beats, epic structures. Listen to Again We Love and be swept away with its majestic form, wave upon wave of beautiful syth and piano moments of pleasure! Lose yourself in the alien, orchestral landscape of The Whispers. Get stomping with Move UP and The Anvil. Drown in the hypnotic The Damned Don't Cry (is this even better than Fade to Grey? If not, it comes close) Relive the eighties with the fun, trivial Night Train and lavish in the pretentious (in a good way) Look what they've done. Every track is an epic gem. This album is surely a classic. For anyone too young to remember the New Romantics - you're journey starts and ends here!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visage At Their Best!, 21 Jan 2009
By 
Mr. P. Keighley "bonerra10" (Leeds UK) - See all my reviews
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Well Being An 80"s " Fan " When " Visage" And "The Anvil" Came Out In 81/82 Originally, On Vinyl Of Course!! ...............AND Being A HUGE Ultravox Fan, The Hallmarks Of Midge Ure And Billy Currie Were Apparrent From The Outset. Almost Like A "Funky" Ultravox In a Way!!!!
Obviously Back Then, I Had Both Albums On Vinyl, And Loved Both Of Them, For Whatever Reason That I Dont Know, I Got Rid of Them, Eventually.............After ALOT Of Searching And Waiting, I Finally Found "Visage" ( The Album Title !! ) On CD.............Then I Went To Record Fairs Etc Looking For "The Anvil"...............But To No Avail......And I Was Getting Fustrated By Now!!!!!
FINALLY A Few Years Back ---I Found It Via "No-way Records" and I Was Made Up!!!!...........NOW In 2009.............. With The Old B-sides " Motivation" and "Im Still Searching" Im REALLY Made Up!!!!!
For Me..............This WAS The Best Visage Album............ For Me.........The Strongest Tracks Have Always Been "The Horseman" "Look What Theyve Done To me" and Again We Love" Personally I Wasnt a Huge Fan Of "Nightrain" But I Can Understand Why It was Picked as a Single back Then, And I Love The Ambience Of "Whispers".
And The Inlay Cover Is Excellent, "No Way" Werent Bothered to Do That , But "Cherry Pop" Have Made an Excellent Inlay Notes Cover...Well Done!!

If You are A Visage/Midge Ure/ Rusty Egan/Steve Strange Fan.........This Is a MUST!!!...........Steve Strange Was On Good Form On The Record Thankfully!!!!!.......Downhill From Then Though!!!!

This is a GREAT CD, Well Worth Investing In and At The Price..............Its a No Brainer!!!!............GET IT While you Can!!!!
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