This is the second band this week from the obvious new mecca for Metal, Poland.  […]
March 17, 2019
Tankograd - Totalitarian album cover

This is the second band this week from the obvious new mecca for Metal, Poland.  On the different end of the spectrum, though, TANKOGRAD plays it low and slow with their signature style of Doom Metal.  The band formed just back in 2015 and this is their debut full-length after "Mir," the EP they released back in 2017.  In case anyone is curious, their name means "city of tanks" in Russian.

What is immediately evident upon pressing play is that this band has MASSIVE sound.  Gargantuan.  Colossal.  Mammoth-sized.  "Ostatni sen Joachima" is the first track, a more than ample initial exposition of the outfit's craft.  The music is alive, breathing, with all elements supporting each other dealing a consistently accurate performance.  As the chords ring out, the band selects different beats to accent instead of always coming together on the first.  The wah-pedal used as a lead-like accoutrement, speaks a reptilian language over the wall of powerfully amplified sonic fury.

A point of major distinction for TANKOGRAD is the vocals.  The singing employed is varied, forceful when needed and somber, strange when called for.  In the first track, a familiar approach is employed, an aggressive, throaty take similar to that used by Kirk Windstein of the mighty CROWBAR.  "Arkhangelsk," the second track, showcases a very different style.  With a psychedelic flavor that blends perfectly with the plodding groove, the singer evokes a hint of Layne Staley.  The previously reference singers are just that - points of reference - as the style of TANKOGRAD is singular, inventive, and signature, devoid of derivation.

Instrumentally, the band is on fire, or rather, breathes fire like a giant dragon flying lowly over villages and setting dwellings and townsfolk ablaze.  The guitar tone is ideal.  It certainly is not another cut and paste Doom tone a la Big Muff pedal and Sunn amp.  Rather, it wears many hats.  The clean tone as demonstrated in the third track, "Lot do Kraju" has just a slight bit of dirt yet perfectly rings through with the selected chords as the stout expressive bass performs long walks up and down the chosen scale truly opening the music up.  When the song gets heavy, the guitar tone is not altered much, almost as if he had just dialed back the volume knob a bit when he wanted to clean it up.  For such a young band, their compositions are impressively mature showing an outfit that holds classic SABBATH and PENTAGRAM in high regard along with other Blues-based heavy bands instead of being heavy for the sake of being heavy.  Rhythmically, the drums are alive, swinging, and locking the beat in securely while the bass joins in when not engaging in a forward-thinking, dazzling arpeggiated run.

YOB, ACID BATH, ELECTRIC WIZARD, and many other outstanding legends come to mind when listening to this, but like them, TANKOGRAD is its own authentically original entity.  Five songs on this album equal a total just over a minute shy of forty-five minutes.  None of the tracks repeat ideas or resemble the others in any way other than retaining the style.  This album came out of nowhere and I consider it to be a gem that I've found, one that shall remain on my playlist for quite some time.  This is because TANKGORAD play gorgeously-layered Doom filled with soul.  The gloom is ever-apparent yet the genius is in the way it is constantly being twisted and manipulated to offer different shades along the way. 

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








"Totalitarian" Track-listing:

1. Ostatni sen Joachima
2. Arkhangelsk
3. Lot do Kraju
4. Zelazny Trumny
5. Mir

Tankograd Lineup:

Herr Schnitt - Bass
Herr Doktor - Drums
Herr Berg - Guitars
Herr Feldgrau - Guitars, Vocals

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