Review: TankZilla ‘TankZilla’

As I’ve noted in these hallowed pages, I’m endlessly fascinated with rock band duos, and the universe has apparently seen fit to drop not one, but TWO duos for me to review, back-to-back. Following on from Astrodeath, here we have the debut record from Eindhoven, Netherlands riff-bashers, the amazingly named Tankzilla. Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Peter van Elderen and drummer Marcin Hurkmans, they describe their sound like ‘Satan fucked a Panzer and the offshoot is TankZilla’ as well as ‘stoner blues swamp boogie’. If those descriptions can’t quip one’s rock and roll curiosity, I don’t know what will.

TankZilla 'TankZilla'
TankZilla ‘TankZilla’ Artwork

Evidently, van Elderen and Hurkmans came together five years ago after the dissolution of their previous bands whilst linking up at a mutual practice space and deciding to join forces, and after appearing at the world famous Roadburn Festival to positive response, the duo was off and running, leading up to their self-titled debut being released through Heavy Psych Sounds.

Right off the bat, Tankzilla is a full-on, riffy, rock and roll banger, as the crunchy riff of opener Lucifer announces empathically there will be no fucking around. The track serves as a stellar introduction to the band as it’s all at once both rocking and catchy, the main riff is a real earworm, and Hurkmans rock-steady, Phil Rudd-esque drumming instantly serves notice that the rhythm section is on lockdown. Call me intrigued.

Tankzilla keeps the party going with the infectious, bluesy, stomper Crossroad wherein van Elderen gets the opportunity to unleash some ripping, bluesy shred, showing there’s more to his game than just crafting chunky, catchy riffs. Wrong Place features a heavy, dirty, captivating riff, that conjures a sonic comparison to ZZ Top, if they were playing with Clutch, using Black Sabbath’s equipment from Vol. 4.

Tankzilla don’t take their foot off the gas for a moment as Soulsurfer has an irresistible crawling riff but on this track Hurkmans skills behind the kit are noteworthy as his rhythms, tone and rock and roll bash and crash really propel the song. Down Below, not surprisingly, also displays van Elderen’s ability at writing riffs that are all at once memorable while also being crushing and stomping. Additionally, both musicians go the fuck off, completely ripping their respective instruments during the middle section/bridge before effortlessly flowing into the main riff. This is scorching stuff.

Tankzilla is a fun, full-on heavy-ass rock and roll rager…

Brother From Another Mother, to my ears, is the centerpiece of the album, with van Elderen’s vocals sounding like a cross between Neil Fallon, and Jon Spencer. Musically the track is another bluesy, mid-tempo basher, complete with a suitcase of riffs on full display. Wolfpack ups the tempo, allowing Hurkmans ample opportunity to get his rock and roll on, which includes just a bit of cowbell action for good measure.

Elsewhere, Pluck The Rooster is another bluesy, stomper, while third single Mutant Freak proffers a killer, chugging main riff to go along with the now-familiar guitar theatrics. The penultimate rollicking Diggin’ 4 Gold is a melodious rock and roll basher, complete with ‘woo-hoos’ in the chorus, overstating the bands rock and roll heroics. The Self-Titled album is brought to a close with the massive creeping Hard Way in which van Elderen’s riffs and utterly impeccable tone is on vivid display, while Tankzilla unveil all sorts of twists and turns, propelled along by Hurkmans now familiar bash and crash sensibilities.

This eleven tracker is a pretty unstoppable heavy, rock and roll monster from the second the listener presses play. Peter van Elderen’s vocals, riffs and tone are all killer throughout the entire record, while Hurkmans proves himself to be the perfect sonic partner as his rock and roll rhythms both complement and propel the theatrics deftly.

I racked my brain as I was absorbing the album thinking of some aural comparisons, and I’d say they sound like a mutant cross between ‘90s garage, blues and punk heroes The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and the short-lived Sheffield heavy bashers The Wet Nuns with a touch of Clutch. Then throw into the mix a whole lot of guitar dynamics with hints of the immortal Billy Gibbons and Corrosion of Conformity’s figurehead Pepper Keenan.

Tankzilla is a fun, full-on heavy-ass rock and roll rager served up by two stellar musicians who both have an obvious clear vision of what they’re wanting to accomplish and the musical chops to achieve it. Man, Heavy Psych Sounds have found yet another killer band to add to their already overflowing roster. Enthusiastically recommended.

Label: Heavy Psych Sounds
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Martin Williams