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So here it is, the second, and not at all anticipated, instalment of the Village Hall Tomfoolery guide to NWOBHM. Tank are often seen as being to Motörhead as what Witchfinder General are to Black Sabbath. However, to me this is a little unfair, sure, they occupy the same loud, crude and unfussy end of the metal spectrum and share much of the sonic makeup as Motörhead but Tank aren’t the Motörclones others have made them out to be.
Algy Ward had somewhat of a grounding in then burgeoning punk scene which explains the overtly punkish sound here. Algy had played with Australian punks The Saints (of whom I know nearly nothing of) and the provided bass on The Damned’s seminal ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’, which freed up the fantastic Captain Sensible to play lead…but that’s a whole other story. Anyway, the punkier (or speed metal) tracks here are usually excellent and the less than stellar moments are when the band tries something more bluesy, namely ‘Who Needs Love Songs’, well I don’t know, but I certainly don’t need this song. But other than that minor slip in quality, Tank’s debut pretty much flat out rocks.
The clear winner here is ‘Turn Your Head Around’, this one tears its way out of your speakers with an awesome if slightly amateurish lead line and a ripping pace. This song has a fury so drunken that all it can taste is bile and the spittle of a jaundiced trollop. Life affirming and rampant in its execution, but more importantly, it’s fucking fun. Indeed, why are you sitting here reading this, gorging yourself on cups and cakes (what lovely things mother makes) until you bear some resemblance to Jabba the Hut , when you could be haphazardly thrashing about your humble abode with this glorious exercise in speed pounding away in your waxy ears? The choice is yours dear reader. ‘Heavy Artillery’ is another highlight, a well rounded mid pace rocker with some excellent riffs. Sure it’s all somewhat shakily executed, but hell, this is NWOBHM not a bovine technical metal release, I want character and charm not lifeless sweep picked runs. The lead guitar here is a perfect example of this, strangely beautiful and delicate for such a rough and ready band but strikingly effective. ‘(He Fell in Love with a) Stormtrooper’ is an interesting listen lyrically. Perhaps it would presumptuous to assume that the songs homosexual conations are a reference to brown-shirted and, ahem, brown-sworded Nazi Nancy Ernst Röhm. But anyway a great little stomping rocker, in keeping with the general good rocking and tongue in cheek humour of the album.
‘Fast’ Eddie was always an excellent guitarist and a seasoned drinker (he usually carried two guitar cases, one with an instrument, the other full of Jack Daniels), however, production is not his forte, see ‘Iron Fist’ for an example of this. But the production here is actually rather pleasant everything is raw and has a certain hangover fuzz to it. In all, still scrappy and scruffy like most NWOBHM productions, but pleasing to these ears.
Algy Ward wins man of the match here, I do find his abrasive yet tuneful drawl charming and it gives proceedings a real touch of class, or lack of. The guitars are somewhat of an ecstasy of fumbling, lacking from a technical perspective but really enjoyable. Again, I never really expected anything more from a scruffy NWOBHM album.
‘Filth Hounds of Hades’ is one of the better NWOBHM albums out there and does exactly what it says on the tin delivering loud and hard rock ’n’ roll, which you should be a fan of or else me and Tom Angelripper are coming to your town to skin your cat and post it through your letter box…Come here Mittens you fucker!