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That's What Dreams Are Made Of! (Oh Yeah!) - 94%

CHAIRTHROWER, July 15th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2016, CD, Heavy Sound

Crikey! I've re-created a monster! Namely, myself, as I went from innocently writing a review for Breaker's In Days Of Heavy Metal to tossing out a quick, wise-cracking write-up for Tank's classic single, "Turn Your Head Around" (along with its loyal brother in arms, "Steppin' On A Landmine") and by Jove, I'm now in for the long haul! As far as reliving this largely under appreciated NWOBHM powerhouse's thrills and kills, expect a gun-ho burst of vaunted reviews as I pay homage to massive genre staples. Let's start with Algy and the bros.' full-length juggernaut from 1982, the raucously rock-ish Filth Hounds Of Hades!

Founded in London, U.K., by front man bassist Algy Ward, guitarist Peter Brabbs and his brother, drummer Mark Brabbs, Tank's mix of randy military allusions/ jargon and high-strung, even manic at times, super bluesy compositions and song structures is as flattening and imposing as the name implies. I'll even go as far as comparing them to Led Zeppelin (at its raunchiest i.e "Black Dog", "Rock And Roll") but with way more attitude, balls and overall oomph. In fact, I prefer Tank to the latter by a long shot, as it takes itself much less seriously while spinning the wildest hard-rocking yarns this side of the river Kwai. To give an idea, Led Zep would be my soundtrack to reading The Hobbitt or Lord Of The Rings while Tank would be suitable to Irishman Garth Ennis' War Stories and 100 Bullets graphics novels (comics to the layman).

"Hoomba, Hoomba, Hoomba" (and so on) is what gets Tank on this well-tread road of jocular mayhem before "Shellshock" leaps out of the bushes (perhaps with a bone through its nose?) with typical Tank swarth, yielding a catchy 'round and 'round kind of blues riff, and while this short. three-minute opener retains the gruff trio's all-encompassing abrasive flair, I still consider it this release's sole "weak" track (despite there being no filler whatsoever discounting the Kumbaya-esque intro). It's just that by the time "Struck By Lightning" and its indelible host of following tracks comes around, you're sure to be shellshocked yourself thanks to their timeless rock and sock 'em appeal, thunderous refrains not withstanding.

Aside from the B side's highly rollicking "Turn Your Head Around" and excitably crushing "Heavy Artillery", the more memorable tracks are first served up in unforgiving succession, namely "Struck By Lightning", "Run Like Hell", "Blood Guts And Beer" and last but not least - oh, definitely not least! - the Hades Hounds' ultimate howl, "That's What Dreams Are Made Of". There's no filler - every track is sure to win you over, even if at varying degrees (in my case, guess which is dominating my head space right now). Algy's one of my preferred heavy metal/ hard rock vocalists, period. His inflections and the way he hits certain notes is unparalled, sort of a cross between The Groundhogs' Tony McPhee (who's also a reverend on top of the 'hogs front man and guitarist) and Night Demon's Jarvis Leatherby - a nice pedigree if you ask me. At his most garrulous though, he definitely sounds like Mick Jagger with a cattle prod up his butt (I've borrowed this expression - I forget from where - which has also been used to describe Pentagram's Bobby Liebling). However, for the sake of this review, I can assure you the two have their own distinct styles. While Pentagram's quirky front man can be all over the place - solemn one minute, hysterical the next - Algy, on the other hand prefers a raspy straight for the throat delivery at times punctuated by a deceitful mellow side which always, always gives way to an explosive return to form (for those in the know, think "When All Hell Freezes Over" or "W.M.LA. = Wasting My Life Away" from 1984's Honour And Blood LP).

I'll try not to go overboard for each track but I'll definitely touch base on some of Filth Hounds of Hades' finer, if not rougher, fare. For starters, "Struck By Lightning" sticks out by the sheer fact it's a much catchier (and less humdrum) track than the quasi-trite "Shellshock". Sure this last has a quirky, upbeat blues riff going for it but to my ears it simply sounds repetitive and slightly grating. Rejoice however, as the rest of the tracks rock out with their cock out. In fact, I like to think of Tank as a long-past, ahead of its time precursor to modern day heavy metal carollers such as RAM or Horacle for instance. Across the board, this release's high-flying energy and caution-to-the-wind conviviality is also found, forty years later, on Horacle's A Wicked Procession EP - especially "Axes Of Blood" and "A Gallow's Tale" - from 2013, for want of a fair example.

Put it on a certain melancholic down-home on the farm kind of feel but on "Run Like Hell", Argy brings to mind the Groundhogs' Mc Phee from the much underrated Back Diamond LP from 1976, the year my sister was born. Speaking of which, the most splendid track on this release, #4, "That's What Dreams Are Made Of" (a.k.a. "T.W.D.A.M.O."), reminds me a lot of a band she listened to growing up which I also soon got into eventually, Stephen Malkmus' Pavement and his swinging, fandanglin' brand of alt-rock. In fact, the only words I can think of to describe this rough polished gemstone are "crude", "boisterous", and "oblong". You heard me right; I wanted to say "wang-gy" but feared it would sound ostentatious. This speaks of this monster track's impetus. (The main riff just stretches back and forth like a door stopping thing-a-ma-jig in slow motion.) I'd like to add how the graceful, melodic and soaring lead playing at the outset is fantastic, sort of like a tweaked up version of Dave Mason's confidant, spaced out solo from "Look At You, Look At Me". Phew! Good Stuff. I especially dig:

You've seen her magazines how the hell does she keep her teeth clean
Doing something that's loosely termed love
All the time wearing boxing gloves
She's got the cheek to say she's on a mission from God

That's what dreams are made of..."

Ah, Algy, you scoundrel!

Another vinegar-brine pickled track is "Blood, Guts And Beer, which, believe it or not, sounds like an Orange Goblin (think Big "Ol Hands from Coup De Grace)/ Tragically Hip / Pentagram/ Witchfinder General ("No Stayer (On A Saturday Night?)") mix sure to give an odd tingle.

It's worth noting TANK's Filth Hounds Of Hades has a very anarchistic and jocose anthem-like feel to its songs, at times kicking the listener in the face with the impact of a steel boot! This is the diagnosis I've reached for most of them, the next few in particular. Firstly, you've got the quick (but so powerful) duo of said tracks "Turn Your Head Around" and "Heavy Artillery". I refuse to divulge too much - that'd besmirch the joy of discovery (spoil). However, I'll confidently say they're both the perfect length, hovering around three minutes and of the same caliber and magnitude - from out of time and space - as prime numbers which paved the night road for quote, heavy metal. Black Sabbath's eternal FM staple and timeless example of power chord/ lunatic hammer-on perfection, the mighty "Paranoid" is an excellent example of this rare kind of track.

Mark Brabbs steals the show with his funky beats and daredevil, alternate tempos on the cheeky, if not super bluesy, "Who Needs Love Songs?". I'm actually kind of glad it only lasts three minutes before vacating the stage for "Filth Hounds Of Hades" proper. This track reminds me so much of a rural Ohio romp-metal band I like, Aurora's Boulder, as subtle temp changes and quirky guitar/ bass licks are strewn all over the place like so much haphazard-y. As for the uproariously titled "(He Fell In Love With A) Stormtrooper", five-minute closer and ode to Shakespearean theatrics, not only does it clock in the final punch (line) but also serves as a wicked precursor to another contemporary "new wave of traditional heavy metal" band I'd like to relevantly slip into this review, Roadwolf. To wit, a minute in when Algy sneaks in his ludicrously smug nasal twine (which, I'm afraid to say, is strangely compelling) I can't help but think of the Austrians' ultra cheesy - but still rocking - "Pumping Iron" from their 2014 demo, also worthy of inspection.

I could go on forever - Tank's Filth Hounds Of Hades from 1982 is highly worthy of any NWOBHM/ Hard Rock/ Heavy Rock/ Blues Rock (i.e. Mountain, Grand Funk Railroad, April Wine, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Ted Nugent, Aerosmith. Black Sabbath, Foghat, Black Oak Arkansas, Molly Hatchet, etc) fan. So make sure to stick around (and turn your head around too!). Call me uncouth, but this'll play at my wedding; Heck, I'll even make Algy my best man! So grab that "tankard" of Old Grandad or Laphroaig and prepare to boogie!

Judas Priest Meets The Sex Pistols - 82%

Caleb9000, November 22nd, 2015

In the year 1982, the NWOBHM was in the mainstream in it's home country. Sure, the music in the movement as a whole was a bit formulaic, but it was damn good. However, some of the music was a bit different than the rest. One of those outliers was the band Tank. Fronted by Algy Ward (formerly of the legendary punk band, The Damned), this band played straightforward heavy/speed metal, but still contained Algy punk roots. This makes the music even more raw. It's one big metal/punk opera about beer, women and warfare.

The majority of the music has the rawness and simplicity of punk rock, but adds in metallic riffs and songwriting. A lot of the heavier songs are the fast ones, such as the opener, "Shellshock" (which is probably the heaviest song on the album) or the Rainbow-ish "Blood, Guts & Beer". There are also a few tracks that lead more towards punk than metal, such as the blues-influenced "Stormtrooper" or the Sex-Pistols-ish "Run Like Hell". However, most of it just mixes the two together, such as the title track, or "Struck By Lightning".

The guitar work is quite simple and sleazy, and it has a somewhat in the middle of thick and thin tone. It sounds quite reminiscent of Richie Blackmore, and at times, Eddie Van Halen, but it adds a bit of a punk flavor. Sometimes, the solos are actually quite impressive, but what attracts me most about it is the riffs. The riffs on this album are badass and catchy as hell. Sure, they're pretty reminiscent of the 70s, but hey, so is the rest of the music.

The vocals are pretty raspy, but have a lot of soul to them. Unlike Lemmy Kilmister, Algy Ward has a pretty wide range. His high-pitched screams are nothing special, but he can hit them, for sure. He also tends to go lower than Lemmy would tend to. I can see why he is often compared to him, but they have their differences.

As for Algy's other weapon of mass destruction, the bass guitar, it's actually a little jazzy. He gives us smooth bass lines that sound quite raw, but not as stripped down as the other instruments on this album, which surprisingly fits pretty well. You can tell that he has grown as a bassist since The Damned, as you can now listen to the bass lines and say to yourself "Oh hey, that was impressive".

The drums get almost no chance to shine on this album. Sure, they keep the beat, but they rarely do anything special outside of that. But when they do, it's rarely that impressive. He sounds like he was focusing more on some other instrument, but it was taken, so he had to play the other instrument that he had taken some time to learn. There is one exception, though. The drumming on "Stormtrooper" was where he got to do a whole lot more, and he did his absolute best. His little hooks are pretty good here. They're not really the catchiest, but they definitely let you know that what was going on with them took a bit of talent.

This album continues to influence rock musicians today and I can see why. The sleazy sound is pretty cool and the mood of the music gives you a bit of an urge to yell "FUCK YEAH!" at whatever is in front of you. It's a good album for both metal and punk fans, or just fans of rock n roll in general. So sit back, grab some beers and start headbanging.

The Lemmy alternative - 80%

autothrall, November 9th, 2009

Tank were another of the promising NWOBHM bands to dwell at the filthier end of the spectrum; comparisons to Motörhead are obvious as far as the band's blues driven, barhouse (or pubhouse) swagger, with a slight difference in Algy Ward's vocals which are slightly higher pitched. Filth Hounds of Hades was their debut and best effort, they grew a little more commercial with later releases which didn't end up working in their favor.

The album begins with a chest beating chant, almost throwing you off before the chords of "Shellshock" kick into overdrive. Honestly, you would have half expected Lemmy to begin his tobacco eroded vocals at this point (Algy Ward was also a multi-tasking bassist/vocalist), the musical similarities are so strong. Still, they eke out a pretty catchy set of riffs with some burning leads. "Struck by Lightning" is gritty British metal with rapid fire blues riffing, and "Run Like Hell" is a total rocka rolla with thick and grooving bass. "Blood, Guts and Beer" opens with some catchy licks, again in speedy blues mode which really signifies the birth of this whole style. The remainder of the tracks are consistently good, but the standouts are the catchy "Heavy Artillery" and the true classic of the album "Turn Your Head Around" with a memorable chorus and some great leads. The song has been covered by Sodom and other bands yet the original still burns brightly.

The album has always sounded good and remains so, a well balanced mix capturing all the drive of the chords, steady beats and wailing solos. This is the blue blood steelworking style of heavy metal, for a night out at the pub or a soccer brawl. No frills and no gimmicks. If you fancy Motörhead, Saxon, or other such acts of its day, and you're not already familiar with it, Filth Hounds of Hades is a worthwhile 'classic' which you should enjoy for a few spins. It remains the crown jewel in the band's chronologically deteriorating discography.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Village Hall Tomfoolery Part 2- Booze Hounds - 82%

Acrobat, July 5th, 2008

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!

Blood, Guts and Beer - 90%

Nightcrawler, March 15th, 2007

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.