Review

TANK Honour & Blood

Album · 1984 · NWoBHM
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4/5 ·
aglasshouse
"Do you remember that I felt so bad that you'd been blown away for good?"

Tank's story is one of frontman and bassist Algy Ward slowly detaching himself from his past in The Damned- slinking slowly farther and farther away from the punk rock he had been playing a year prior to him forming Tank. But, just like contemporaries Motörhead, the band stayed attached to their roots firmly, combining the newborn New Wave of British Heavy Metal with the youthful exuberance of punk.

As Tank moved more and more onward however so evolved their music. The punk sensibilities became thinner and thinner as they broached further into the 80's, and by the time 1984 rolled around Tank had dropped the tomfoolery. This new album, brazenly embossed with an explosive military-style cover that would make even Sabaton blush, shows Tank at their most balls deep in this new medium. The vivacious Honour and Blood bears the brunt of some of the most badass metal to come from the early 80's. Each drum hit clicks like the hammer of a gun, no matter how simplistic the beat (which they are often not, thank god) may be. Each layered guitar lick reflects off itself and it's rippling bass counterpart to create a cacophony of chaos at each turn. This is of course without mention of Ward's vocal work, which is reflected particularly well on the force ten hurricane opener 'The War Drags Ever On' and the title track. No screeching or castrato stuff here- just brash, primitive growls...as it should be.

The sharp sonic assault created on multiple occasions are some of the finest that this particular scene has to offer, and can work in both a rapid gallop, or a slower, sludgier jog like 'Chain of Fools' or 'When All Hell Freezes Over'. Whatever your preference, it's likely Tank has you covered fairly well. But with almost every album, a few listens-through provide a few strikes against it. Ward's vocals, while almost always good, can get a bit silly the more guttural he goes. This is sometimes a shame because his clean vocals (seen on 'W.M.L.A.') are often equally as fitting for the music as his bellow. As a NWoBHM album, Honour and Blood occasionally delves into contrivances with some of the guitar work, but it remains almost always creative even at it's worst (even 'Too Tired to Wait for Love', possibly the closest they get to a ballad is fun as all hell). Of course we also have to take into account the time period; it's pretty obvious that the 1980's inanity would weave itself into the music at certain points, such as the glam vocal choruses and sometimes ridiculously cheesy lyrical themes (though 'Kill' is an extremely dark tune lyrical-wise for the time). These factors might bog a lesser album down to a much lower quality, but Tank's sound and presence is just so much more creative than others that, even through the lowest points, you're still cheering these boys on.

And so, the war drags ever on.
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Bosh66 wrote:
16 days ago
I’m old enough to have picked this up when it came out and I’ve always had a soft spot for it. The War Drags ... is a killer of a tune. Good review.
aglasshouse wrote:
17 days ago
I may have lumped in some US and/or trad metal bands (Dio and Priest for instance) in the "good 1984 metal" label, so I apologize for that. If I were to state a different year I would say probably 1980. Geoff Barton can stuff a sock in it with his declarations because I honestly couldn't care less what he thinks is dead and what isn't.
Vim Fuego wrote:
17 days ago
"debatably the glory year for the New Wave" Debatable with who? It's generally agreed the NWOBHM was done and dusted by 1982. Geoff Barton declared it dead in 1981.

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