Tank - War Nation

War Nation
Metal Mind
Tank are an indeed historical band, that paved its own way with its own brand of punkish loose heavy metal, not a million miles away from Motorhead back in the day, but decidedly different and a tad less rock n’ roll and more metal at the same time. Ex The Damned and The Saints member Algy Ward, was for far too long, their leader, so the decision, to forge ahead without him, citing some health issues as the primary reason, by a number of the band’s former members, was taken rather apprehensively by a good portion of the bands fan base, who were rightfully worried. Ex-Rainbow, vocalist Doogie White, assumed the vocalist spot and ex-Bruce Dickinson solo band’s Chris Dale, took over the bassist duties for the ensuing album 2010’s “War Machine”, which saw the band moving in an even slightly more melodic direction than previously (as after the first couple of albums, even the original Tank, mellowed out a bit), but somehow retaining a good portion of its old school charm at the same time.
“War Nation”, coming hot on the heels of a tour, in support of its predecessor, sees the reinstatement of Tank Alumnus, Steve Hopgood, behind the drum stool and feels quite like the organic, natural successor to “War Machine”. With a better chemistry, established between White and the rest of the band and with the new direction of the band further refined, things are more mature and to the point this time. Sounding like a direct, balanced mix between latter da Tank and mid-period Saxon, with a focus on melody, as aforementioned, Tank 2012, is offering a very solid album, of old school goodness, that manages not to sound too dated, thanks to the accumulated experience of its members as well as to the great effort that has gone into the songwriting department.
It’s songs like the immediate and pulsating title track, that opens the album with aplomb, the moody and epic “Song of The Dead” that touches and builds, upon all the things that made Dio, so holy and great. But the plummeting doesn’t stop as “Hammer and Nails” hammers down any last resistance, with its urgency and fantastic rhythmical build. “Don’t Dream In The Dark” drops the speed a notch and ups the melody, several notches. It’s hardly Tank, admittedly, and possibly more Rainbowesque, but still, it’s pretty good. “Grace of God” is a bit bizarre, as it’s becomes a bit Maidenesque, with some rather daring, but successful in conveying the result they wish, a-capella, chorus lines. Interesting song admittedly, that loses some of its bite, sandwiched, between the more timid “Dark… and “Dreamer” an almost Dio/Rainbow’esque ballad, that again might not be 100% in the spirit of Tank, but is a great song. But justice is done, on the following track, the blazing “Justice For All” that really rocks HARD! “Wings Of Heaven” might be a title more akin to Magnum, and although, the tune is a bit more pompous, with its thumping drum rhythm, it’s another winner! “State Of The Union” is really – Saxonesque, to the point that I’d not be surprised if someone tried to pass it off, as a new Saxon track. Finally “Hard Road” is a fantastic Instrumental song that closes the album, ideally. The digipack limited edition comes with 3 additional tracks in the form of 2 live renditions of “War Machine” and “Feast of The Devil” form funk know where, as well as an acoustic rendition of “W.M.L.A. (Wasting My Life Away)” from 1984’s “Honour & Blood” album.
All in all, this whole review wouldn’t matter $hit, if “War Nation” was a bad album, but this isn’t the case. Tank, just turned the bloody turret and is pointing its loaded gun, to anyone who dares to defy or bad-mouth them!
And you know what – with an album that kicks so much ass, old school style, as “War Nation” does, I think they’re bloody destined for Victory!