TANKIST — Unhuman (review)

TANKIST — Unhuman album cover Album · 2017 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
aglasshouse
Tankist came into the fray a few years back with little more than a "rage against" attitude and a deep-seated love for thrash acts of yore. Though this motivation alone has rarely done your average garage band favors, it combined with the talents of this Estonian group to make promise back in 2015 with their EP Be Offended. The obvious Megadeth influence combined with a decently virtuous technicality to their songwriting made them at least stand out from the hordes of modern thrash bands drenched in glittery production and faux-aggression.

Now that two years have passed in the wake of this EP and Tankist have had definite time to grow, how exactly do they fare with the daunting task of a full length LP? Not bad, turns out. There's a definite upspike in production quality, following in the footsteps of the slew of standalone singles the band put out last year. The technical riffage is still present on many of the songs, such as 'The Plastic Age' and 'I Know What You Are!', that see Unhuman not necessarily ascending to the insanity that was Vektor's Terminal Redux, but definitely as an album with a certain level of prowess. It can't be denied that, as a mega-fan of Atheist, technicality is disavowed by any means. Similarly, things like the Voivod influence in Kevin Marks' voice, the Anvil-esque drum sound of Simo Atso, the aforementioned Megadeth sound (present mainly in many of the riffs), and other light nods to what are perhaps Tankists' influencers give the album a sort of warmness and appeal to any even slightly well-versed thrash metal fan.

Tankist aren't perfect legends though, as they do have some issues. While Unhuman might contain rather fresh ideas for the thrash metal scene, it also showcases some of the most laughably cliched ideas in thrash's history. For instance, 'Conveyor Care' does little in the way of interesting the listener not only by having a weak bass sound, but also by having a very lackluster middle section of a simple thrash 4/4 backing a weak string of riffs. Also at times Tankist can seem a bit too entrenched in their influences, bringing out the cheese of 80's metal with things like the silly "I ain't done with you yet!" voice clip at the end of 'I Know What You Are!', and similarly the occasional laughable excitement in Marks' vocals. I mean, I'm glad the dude's having fun, but sometimes is definitely ruins the mood.

However for such an obscure group as Tankist, I can readily admit how much taste these guys have for their craft. Unhuman is no rampaging monster, but it does have quite the bark nonetheless. In all, I believe with the burgeoning talents these Estonians possess, they definitely have the capability to deliver some "fucking fist-in-the-face" songs to me in the future, cause they weren't too far off this time around.
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