Tank - Filth Hounds of Hades (1982)

I remember the first time I heard this band, when a friend sent me the song "Blood, guts and beer". I immediately fell in love with the song - you can tell the band's having fun, and this feeling is delivered through the speakers into the ears of the listener. This whole album is extremely fun, a blast to listen to, and just makes one feel good. Crack a beer, light a smoke, bang your head and sing along, and enjoy.

Often Tank are compared to Motörhead, though I don't quite agree. Bassist/vocalist Algy Ward does have a bit of a gruff voice but not nearly as whiskey-and-marlboro-devastated as that of Lemmy, and the general feel the music gives is also quite different. The riffs are often fairly simplistic and power-chord based, like the opening track "Shellshock" for instance, but there's also some very nice bluesy material but still aggressive that requires using more than two strings while playing, so to speak. The main riff of "Blood, guts and beer" is a good example of this - very catchy indeed, fun as hell to air guitar to (or play it on a real guitar, whichever you prefer). I've found it hard to describe exactly what I love about this band, but somehow they managed to become my absolute favorite band of the NWOBHM scene. But while the riffs in themselves aren't exactly groundbreaking, the general mood and the way everything is put together gives a very unique sound - you'd know right away when you're listening to a Tank song.

This album has a perfect mixture of subtle blues influences and complete balls-out rocking, and with a delivery that shows that their heart and soul is put into it. We have the fun songs such as "Blood, guts and beer" which is just about having a good goddamn time, with that blues-but-metal main riff, and then there are songs such as the speedy asskicker "Turn your head around" with it's more serious war-based lyrics and a great atmosphere created simply with catchy, interesting riffing and vocal lines that will stick in your head forever. The chorus, not unlike many other songs on the album, is just the songtitle repeated 4 times, but damn does it fucking WORK. They have the ability to write extremely catchy and memorable vocal lines which manage to extremely well capture the true feeling of each song, and are simultaneously extremely fun to sing along to.

Other tracks worth mentioning if you asked me, would be all of them. As far as I'm concerned, there is no filler here - sure, "Who needs love songs" is rather silly but it's fun as hell, with a main riff similar to that of "Blood, guts and beer" yet less bluesy and more harmless. It's probably the weakest song on the album, but very fun nonetheless. One of the highlights however would be the menacing headbanging-mania of a title track with that excellent "everyone-shut-up-for-this-guitar-lick" breakdown after the second chorus leading into the short but excellent solo. Also the ending track "(He fell in love with a) stormtrooper" is very, very nice. Fistpounding required for some catchy mid-tempo riffs and vocal lines, and a massive climax at the end with some insanely awesome soloing combined with repetition of the chorus (once again the song title repeated over and over again, and once again it works so fucking well). A classic way to end a song, and they pull it off incredibly well.

All in all, one of my absolute favorites of NWOBHM, and one of the most often played albums in my collection. A raw but well balanced sound, great musicianship (credit must also be given to the drummer whose name I unfortunately can't remember right now - he keeps a solid backbone to the music giving it great power, and also manages to enhance the feeling of each song in just the right way without complicating things too much) and overall powerful delivery. This is a truly fun album that'll bring a smile to your face. (review by Nightcrawler @ metal-archives.com)



Mark said...

Totally agree with the review, this is a brilliant metal album (punk fans may enjoy too) and has been a regular on my turntable since the early eighties.
Heavy Artillery is a absolute classic!

buddyrayx said...

yes yes yes! right on - thankyou

gloom666 said...

i love your blog man. I also love at least 3 tank LPs.