Style: Heavy Metal
Release Date: 26 Apr 2019
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Oh hey, a new Tank album! Well, sort of. It seems that, back in 2007, Tank split into two but, unlike other bands who conjure up subtly different names to distinguish themselves, both the Algy Ward faction and the Mick Tucker and Cliff Evans faction decided to carry on as Tank. This Tank is the latter Tank and it's their fourth album since then, but it's not quite the new one it seems.
They sorted through the back catalogue and pulled out eleven classics that deserved to be re-recorded with modern production. After all, Filth Hounds of Hades (still one of the best album titles of the NWOBHM era) was made as far back as 1982. Holy crap, I'm getting old.
I made the mistake of starting this partway through, because one of those eleven tracks is one of my personal favourites, Just Like Something from Hell, taken from the third Tank album, This Means War, originally released back in 1983. This version mangles its glorious keyboard intro and the drums are really high in the mix, so I went on back to the original instead, only to realise just how crappy its production was. And so that brought me right back to this!
The eleven tracks are reasonably well divided up between the four original Tank albums, so they all date back to the 1982 to 1984 period. There's three from each album except Power of the Hunter, which is only represented twice. It's a pretty safe selection but it really is great to actually hear them kick ass the way they should have done on vinyl back in the day but didn't, mostly because of technological advances in the recording studio.
The voice here belongs to David Readman, who's still the the vocalist for Pink Cream 69, and he does a pretty fine job. He may not have that down to earth charm of Algy Ward but he's a better singer. Randy van der Elsen is new too, both of these members having joined in 2017. Bobby Schottkowski on bass only dates back to 2014, so there's clearly a lot of flux in the line-up. I hope it settles down soon as these guys are good.
If Just Like Something from Hell isn't quite the original, many of these do a surprisingly good job of revisiting the past without trying to mess with it too much. (He Fell in Love with a) Stormtrooper hasn't sounded this good on vinyl before and neither has Shellshock, which features the unlikely Dani Filth on a very capable guest vocal (Power of the Hunter features another guest vocalist, Sodom's Tom Angelripper). Frankly, I got caught up in the sound quality as the album ran on until I surprised myself by realising that I'd just stopped comparing these new versions with the originals.
The odd man out here is W.M.L.A. (Wasting My Life Away), which oddly sounds like a Whitesnake song here; I don't remember that from Honour and Blood. And talking of Honour and Blood, the title track of that album is here too and Readman's vocals make him sound drunk, which is odd. What was it about that album that made it harder to bring forward than, say, This Means War? These, and the fact that they were unable to redo Just Like Something from Hell as well as many of the other songs here, are the reasons why I'm only giving this a 6 rather than a 7.
That said, none of the songs here are new but this album does stand on its own. If you haven't heard Tank before, this is a perfectly fine place to start and I'm not sure if I've ever said that about a redux album before. Usually they suck, but this one doesn't. Most of these songs are right up there with the old versions, merely with much better production, and the few that lack are still solid and, if you don't know the originals, you'll be fine with them.