Review by Greg Noble
Tank are legends of British heavy metal. Forming in 1980, splitting in 1989 and then re-forming in 1997, they have been around longer than the lint behind the fridge.
This album consists of 11 classics from their first 4 albums, re-recorded. Despite this, they sound and feel like the ‘80s. This is a considerable risk, because music is often a captive to the period in which it was produced.
‘Walking Barefoot Over Glass’ sets the tone for the record, with an immersive opening that changes pace just before the vocals. This is a template that is used often – and to great effect – to draw you into the track. The lyrics are clever and the vocals aren’t technical, but they are easy to listen to and ultimately to join in with. This track is about telling people to kiss your ass.
Tom Angelripper of ‘Sodom’ is a guest on ‘Power of the Hunter’. The guitars really step up here and the track is about being hungry and on the way up.
‘Just Like Something from Hell’ slows the pace a fraction and is about keeping your sanity, so that you can come back. The intensity of this song is Iron Maiden-like.
‘(He Fell in Love with a) Stormtrooper’ has a real swagger that had me nodding. The riffs are technical and diverse and it had me singing along on the first listen. We’ve all been here – falling for the wrong person, but powerless to do anything about it.
‘This Means War’ is quite positive, speaking of things not being as bad as they seem and that it’s now or never.
Dani Filth from ‘Cradle of Filth’ wades in on “Shellshock”. This track is expertly placed and executed. I was ready for a different sound and it delivered. It’s really short and the guitar work is almost dischordant, drawing your attention. Again, we’ve all been here – ‘I don’t know when to stop; I just can’t get enough’. The vocals are clever, suggesting being low and shell-shocked.
‘W.M.L.A.’ changes gear dramatically, again drawing you into the sound. It almost feels like a different band. It speaks of wasting your life away with a person who is pushing you away.
‘Blood, Guts and Beer’ is very clever, mirroring what we have all seemingly been composed of at different points and ‘Echoes of a Distant Battle’ tells a tale of battling on, against the odds, each and every hour, each and every day. The rhythm of this track is energising, mirroring the ebb and flow of a battle.
‘The War Drags Ever On’ includes synthesisers that had me thinking of distant creatures emerging from a swamp. Again, the guitars scale up, whilst everything hammers along in unison. The theme here is that ‘war is for ever; as if we have the time’.
As I listened to this album I was struck by how dated it sounded and that it might have been best left alone. But then… it brought back so many great personal memories, linking the present to the past. There’s lots to relate to in this music – getting retribution after feeling trodden on, falling for the wrong person, dusting yourself off and never giving up.
I suspect that we can all find an anthem or two amongst these tracks. It harks back to a simpler time and in itself, is time well spent.
It’s pure, driving metal at its best.