Tank of Danzig - Not Trendy - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Tank of Danzig - Not Trendy

by Gerry Hathaway Rating:3 Release Date:2014-10-21

The post-punk genre proved to be one of experimentation, moving far beyond the limitations its moniker suggests. While Joy Division and Wire were focusing on skeletal, cerebral, dark rock pieces, groups like Killing Joke and Public Image Ltd were injecting heavy doses of Krautrock, dub, and funk into their music. The results yielded a tribal, metallic cacacophony of sound you could dance to. While those artists would later evolve as their commercial careers waxed and waned, underground Britain and Europe were stirring with notable offshoots who preserved the primordial roots of the genre, such as Play Dead, Headhunters, and 1919.

Falling into the same camp are Tank of Danzig. This release comes from micro-label Musique á la Coque and compiles the 1982 debut album Not Trendy, along with the earlier Your Brain EP, and two live tracks. Recorded at Conny Plank's studio, Cologne, Not Trendy has all the trademarks of their heroes: jagged guitar licks, rumbling funk bass-riffs and one-toned shouting vocals.

Lyrically, Tank of Danzig are decidedly more political and socially aware, however. Themes of hopelessness, urban blight, and general societal ills are par for the course on Not Trendy. The pounding rhythms and vocalist Schengel's pained shouts and caterwauling ensure the ride is an abrasive one. It's easy to believe the group wished to disturb their audience via their own brand of paranoia-soaked tribal metallic hymns, just as Killing Joke had become infamous for doing more authentically years before.

To their detriment, the group opted for the same stop-start approach to all of their songs, each track ending abruptly. This, combined with the atonal nature of much of the music, makes for a tedious listen. Tank of Danzig released one more record (1984's Don't Stop the Music), a complete stylistic shift into synthpop and EBM - before fading into the ether.

What this collection does is signify the very authentic (and desolate) social climate of 1980s Europe, and how music was a means of dealing with it. While Not Trendy is a very ambitious release, I can't help but feel this album's true impact was likely felt best in a live setting.

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