Good God. Far be it from me to tell somebody to cease and desist from doing something, anything- we’re still living in a free country, just about – but on the basis of what I’ve just heard from legendary bassist Algy Ward, I’d respectfully request that he puts down his four string motherfucker now and resists the temptation to shit on his legacy any more. For new album Sturmpanzer is just that – aural defecation of the most nauseous, stenchful kind…
First track 2000 Miles starts off promisingly enough, fluttering keys and portentous sounds hinting at a return to the last time Tank sounded truly energised around the time of 1984’s superb Honour and Blood album. But this promise is short lived, and the track soon gets mired in awful production and is handicapped by a paucity of ideas that means Ward has effectively said what he has to say after about a minute and a half, leaving the final three and a half minutes as a test of endurance rather than a chance to enjoy the man’s undoubted skill.
Did I mention awful production? Seriously, in this day and age, if you’re charging a market rate for an album, there’s absolutely no excuse for putting something out that sounds like this. I’m all for DIY, don’t get me wrong, and I’m all for the punk ethos. But I didn’t have to pay to listen to Sturmpanzer. If I did, I’d be even angrier than I am now, believe me…
Lianne’s Crying has the bones of a good song hiding in the murk, with Ward at least demonstrating he still has a grip on dynamics and songcraft, but the start of First They Killed the Father -a song about Khmer Rouge atrocities – bewilderingly sounds like an outtake from Whitesnake‘s 1987 album (does it? get me a copy of this now! – Coverdale-obsessed Ed), with it’s fast soloing and staccato riff salvos. It’s even more un-Tank like than the music being touted by the other version of the band currently doing the rounds. Probably.
That said, it’s probably the most pleasant thing to listen to on Sturmpanzer.
The rest of the album lurches along in similar fashion, each subsequent track taking it in turns to anger and frustrate the listener. Algy Ward is a true British rock icon, almost by accident of association, but there’s no denying his place in the pantheon of great Brit rock troupers. To hear him in this awful place is as upsetting as it is disappointing, and I don’t want to be put through this kind of unpleasantness again. Sad times all round.
Sturmpanzer is out today.