-- T.A.N.K. (Think of A New Kind) gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
Summerrock 2016 was a busy day for me, as I had no less than 3 interviews to do that day. And one of them was with the French melodic death metal band T.A.N.K. which is shortened for Think of A New Kind. What new kind do we have to think of? We'll find out soon enough.

What else did we talk about? Our mutual love for video games, how things go in Paris nowadays and guitarists popping out of thin air. Yup, this was just another day in the office.

BMS: All right, I'll get this cheesy question out of the way right now! You want us to think of a new kind? What do you mean by that? A new kind of music, a new kind of philosophy?
Raf: It's a new kind of philosophy. When I write the lyrics for the T.A.N.K. songs, I want to offer different views to the themes I discuss those tracks. There are various topics I deal with, stuff I read in books or hear about in the media, even things I experience when I'm playing a video game.

Raf: I recall a sentence said in the video game Metal Gear Solid 4 which was "when a raven dies, a man cries." It inspired me to write the song The Raven's Cry, which is part of our previous release Spasms of Upheaval.

Clement: We all play video games, although nowadays we don't spend as much time on gaming as we used to. Now we get more inspirations from the fact that we're growing older and that the world around us is in constant change.

BMS: You're songs do feel like a new kind to me. I listened to your latest album Symbiosis and it felt different compared to other material I've heard before. It features death metal rawness while still keeping plenty of melody.
Raf: Thanks for your feedback.

T.A.N.K. from left to right: Raf Pener (vocals), ClĂ©ment Rouxel (drums), Charly Jouglet (guitar), Nils Courbaron (guitar), Olivier d'Aries (bass).
BMS: Now, you describe T.A.N.K.'s sound as melodic death metal. Did you invent that term yourself or did you read it in some article about your band?
Clement: It's difficult for us to put our sound into a specific metal subgenre. People do tend to constantly label us as either melodic death metal or modern melodic death metal, like that makes a difference! No, we keep it simple. We say we play metal, we go on stage and we kick your ass!

Raf: It's true that we got inspired by bands like Soilwork and In Flames, band that are described as melodic death metal. But we listen to many metal subgenres and that obviously slips into T.A.N.K. overall sound. For instance, Clement is a fan of Meshuggah while I love listening to the Black Dahlia Murder.
BMS: Is it easy to come to mutual creative agreement for the five of you?
Raf: Well, we only record tracks that all five of us agree with, but...
Clement: We always get into fights over what material we'll be putting on record!
BMS: Really, fights like in Street Fighter? With hadoukens, sonic booms and shoryukens?
Clement: Ha, ha. No, in fact, we remain very democratic. Everyone in the band has the chance to say what's on their minds. Not a single idea gets ignored, and yes, sometimes that leads to a verbal argument, but eventually we get to a song we all are satisfied with.

Clement: In fact, we still enjoy listening to and playing every song in our catalogue, even the earliest ones. Simply because these are all songs we've put our collective heart and soul into. Recently, however, we recruited Charly, a second guitar player. And he's standing over there right now...
BMS: You're right! Hey Charly, get over here!
Charly: All right.
BMS: Tell me, Charly, how did you join T.A.N.K.'s ranks?
Charly: Basically, I came from nowhere...
BMS: Nowhere?! Did you just pop up out of thin air, like the Big Bang or something?
Charly: YES! Ok, not really. I meant that I had no band experience whatsoever before I became a member of T.A.N.K. Olivier, their bassist, found a cover video I made and contacted me on Facebook to audition for the role of second guitarist.
BMS: What's that purple spot on your face? Did you have a fight or something?
Charly: It's a birthmark. And no, I'm not violent, not in real-life at least. ;)
Raf: That's the main reason we hired Charly, he looks like a new kind! (laughs)
BMS: Ha! It's fifty shades of purple!
Raf: Charly may not have been in a band before but he did compose soundtracks for several indie video games such as the free FPS game Deepvoid, therefore he adds a ton of fresh influences into our band. We're composing new material at a rapid pace and we believe Charly may add some videogame or movie inspirations on his own to our sound!
BMS: For me, videogames inspired me to become a metalhead. DOOM's soundtrack in particular. Its songs instantly remained stuck in my head and later on I discovered that the game's soundtrack was inspired by heavy metal songs from Pantera, Slayer, Megadeth etc. And so the metal journey for me began.

BMS: May I give a suggestion?
Raf: Sure!
BMS: I'd love if you covered some tracks from the classic DOOM series. Some of my favorite tracks include E1M1, E1M6, E1M9, E2M3 and E3M1. (Search YouTube to find out what tunes I'm talking about).
Raf: Sounds great! We'll think about it.
BMS: I noticed you've already did several shows here in Belgium, what moments from your time here stood out the most?
Raf: In fact, today is only the second time we've played in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium. But to answer your question: we always love performing in front of a Belgian crowd. You guys are batshit crazy!
BMS: I'm an accurate example of Belgian metal craziness. You'll always find me near the front of the stage headbanging and either provoking or maintaining a mosh pit.
BMS: I read in an interview on Snooze Control that you're planning on conquering Europe! How did the conquest go thus far?
Raf: Things went very well. In the past six months we visited countries all over Europe, including Sweden, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and of course our home country France. We're happy to be back here in Belgium and we'll be playing at the festival la Guerre de Gaulle (which will take place in Chenee on October 22, 2016).
BMS: Are there any places outside of Europe where you wish to play?
Clement: We go to whatever place we are allowed to perform at. No matter if it's at Wacken, Hellfest or at some small community center. No matter if it's front of fifty people or fifty thousand people. As long as we're surrounded by people who go all out on our music.
BMS: I agree, the best way to experience music is live on stage.
BMS: Symbiosis is the third album you've recorded but it's only the first T.A.N.K. album to get a full European release. Are you planning to rerelease your older material (the Burden of Will and Spasms of Upheaval?
Raf: We're thinking about it. Our previous two records were sold out after only two gigs! It was beyond amazing! We hope to get it done before our current release is out of print as well. Doing shows without having any CDs available to purchase is lame!
Clement: For those very few folks who still buy CDs.
BMS: I constantly buy CDs and then I come to you begging for an autograph!

BMS: It has been seven months since the terrorist attacks happened in Paris. How's life out there nowadays?
Raf: Things were back to normal. The police still keep their eyes and ears open for anything suspicious, but the transport companies function like they used to, people once again visit the pubs, concert halls and other tourist locations...

Clement: Ever since that horrible November 13, 2015 event the overall mentality in Paris has shifted. People have become more scared although they do try to behave like nothing ever happened. But as Raf said, people once again go out and have fun. In December I'm going to see Meshuggah in the Bataclan and I'll have a fun time there. The terrorist attacks will remain in my mind, but I'm not going to hide from whatever may happen during my visit.

BMS: I remember I went to a festival in Ninove called Metal for Angels which took place a mere week after the Paris attacks. The final band of that event was a symphonic metal band called Evolvent who also came from Paris. It was an emotional performance with the stage lightning colored like the French flag. And like you, I didn't consider one second about staying in my home out of fear of being killed by some god-fearing lunatic.
BMS: That being said, is there anything else you wish to tell me or the fans?
Raf: Thank you for talking to us and thanks for all your continued support.
Clement: We hope you'll enjoy the show!

T.A.N.K. (Think of A New Kind) - Legacy