Tank – War Machine

By Kyle Harcott

Tank was always grimy, lager-and-chips-bootboy, from-the-streets metal – sonically, the bastard child of the Damned and Motörhead and the rough and ready, 20-grit voice of Algy Ward was its calling card.

So, obviously – this is not the same band that once brought us the classic, dirty-dungaree’d, grease and grime of Filth Hounds of Hades and Power of the Hunter. Understandable, since founder and leading light Algy Ward hasn’t been part of the band since, at last report, 2008. This ‘reformed’ Tank (read: no original members) lineup appears to be hellbent on burying the corpse of classic Tank by writing tepid, middle-of-the-road stabs at generic heavy metal. There’s nothing left of the classic grimy Tank æsthetic, it’s all been polished away by this imposter band who appears to have acquired (appropriated) the name and logo.

Honestly, it’s like a completely different band here. Scratch that, it is a completely different band. None of that classic Tank bulldozer riffola remains, instead whatever Tank is now appears to want to be some sort of ‘classic’ metal band. But the riffs come off as generic and rehashed – sadly, it’s not even Tank riffs they’re rehashing, more like third-rate Iron Maiden.

While replacement singer Doogie White (ex-mid-90s Rainbow, ex-trying out for Iron Maiden when Bruce left) has a respectable, from-the-school-of-Ronnie-James-Dio voice, someone with his vocal style really has no place fronting the kind of band that Tank was, Then again, the music being written here really has no place being called Tank either. This would be an entirely respectable, if rather ho-hum, effort for a band who weren’t running around calling themselves by this name. They could give themselves some generic, not-terribly-memorable band name and put this dreck out under it and that would be fine – quickly forgotten, but fine. Instead they release it under the Tank name and raise the ire of anyone who happened to remember when this band was a more street-punk influenced version of Motörhead, Jr.

This is to say nothing of the absolutely plodding track lengths on this album. Not only are the songs generic and lukewarm, they also clock on average between five and seven minutes. Who can be arsed to waste that much time on a total dud like the title track? Snore machine, more like (sorry, couldn’t resist). Also, the guitars are way clean-sounding and over-produced here, and again, that’d be fine if the band were called something other than Tank, but as it stands, I can’t abide by it – epecially not after enduring the particularly cheesy, keyboard-‘enhanced’ ballad “After All”. Really? Synths on a Tank album? That’s rich. “The Last Laugh” almost gets a pass with its catchy-as-hell “Live for rock’n’roll” chorus, but again, it’d be entirely fine if it wasn’t supposed to be Tank. But too little, too late, it’s one of the shortest songs on the album, and quickly followed up by the back-to-shitty “World Without Pity”.

To reiterate, change the band’s name to something inoffensive and mediocre, to better reflect the music contained within, and I’d be more apt to give this a moderately higher mark. But to so thoroughly tarnish the memory of classic Tank with this half-assed schmaltz is inexcusable and pointless.

(Metal Mind Productions)

Rating: 0.5 (one half-point only for tricking me into believing it might actually be halfway decent with that crappy, classic-Tank-æsthetic album cover)

Vocals @ Hexripper | Curmudgeonly, freelance-hack shit-talker of all things metal