Tank - 'War Machine'

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Tank - 'War Machine'

The album will certainly put Tank back on the map.

Tank, originally formed back in 1980, has just released its seventh album – ‘War Machine’. Numerous line-up changes before, during and after founding member and frontman Algy Ward left in 1997, have resulted in a new line-up but one producing an exceptional album. The dual guitar line-up of Mick Tucker and Cliff Evans, who were in the band from the early 80s, has reignited the band with the inclusion of Chris Dale (Atom Seed, Bruce Dickinson) on bass and Dave ‘Grav’ Cavil (Zodiac Mindwarp) on drums in recent years. Keeping military metaphors going, Tank brought in on vocals another big gun in the guise of Doogie White (Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen).

Combining the pedigree of Tank and the promise of the CV’s of the new band members, this album was always going to be scrutinised and questioned. Luckily for the listener and the band alike, the album delivers in full. It sounds like a classic rock album of the late 70s and 80s with a classic harmonised twin guitar sound and full production, but it also sounds current and relevant. This is in no small way attributable to the producer, Pedro Ferreira, who has The Darkness and Meatloaf credits to his name and has helped Tank sound more stadium than club. Above all, the songs have matched the quality of the production backed up by standout performances.

The album kicks off with ‘Judgement Day’ (probably the most musically impressive track on the album) with a classic twin guitar riff foretelling the catchy chorus of the song. This is an epic and top-drawer song which has sophisticated light and shade built into its fabric. Guitar solos on this song and throughout the album tend to be short and sweet supporting the song rather than being musical statements in their own right. Fans of harmonised guitar riffing will appreciate ‘Phoenix Rising’, with backing vocals that will definitely be picked up and mimicked by the crowd during live performances. This song being on the metal side of rock compares with ‘The Last Laugh’ which is a more traditional rock song with a clichéd but catchy chorus.

Making comparisons to Rainbow cannot be helped on the fifth track, which has a riff in classic Ritchie Blackmore style. This is clearly a positive comparison and the song is one of the strongest on the album. The inclusion of the slow paced song ‘After All’ prevents the potential criticism that the album is too exhausting with the relentless pace and energy. A truly superb song with a tune, passion, killer guitar solo and even orchestral passages thrown in. Indeed the mixture of song styles proves that Tank has the versatility to progress from this album and attract a reasonably wide following. Doogie has proved a great asset to the band and provides a performance that would be hard to match. The notable thing is that even with the speed, intensity and power you can always understand what he is singing about without the need to Google the lyrics after the event.

The strongest song in the album, ‘World Without Pity’, turns up as the penultimate track and makes the album more cohesive and worthy as a result. It has a great vibe and several memorable hooks, leading to a strong chorus and guitar solos full of metal mayhem.

The album will certainly put Tank back on the map. This collection of strong new songs, plus the back catalogue, will make Tank a live act to be reckoned with when their upcoming tour commences. The release of the album is certainly a big deal with four different versions: jewel case CD, limited edition digipak CD including 2 bonus tracks, LP with one bonus track and a Japanese edition of the album including two exclusive bonus tracks.

‘War Machine’ will be released by Metal Mind Productions on 25th October in Europe and 7th December in the US (via MVD). Full details are on the band’s excellent website, www.tankofficial.com.

Rob McKenzie

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