Since their „With A Smile“ album TANQERAY were able to gain a considerable fan community and with the countless shows they quickly proved the fact that they are able to improve clearly on the stage compared to the studio recordings and that they are capable of creating a frolicsome and positive atmosphere with the audience. This difference was exactly why I criticized the first album (not counting the demo CD “T-2000”). Now my attention was primarily focussed on the sound of the new release, as it had been obvious for quite some time that the band possessed enough technical abilities to write good and catchy songs.
From this standpoint the expectations were not set too high and after three years of a creative break you really did not have to expect a rash snapshot. So “Babylon Burns” was ready to enter the race and also damned to top “With A Smile”. But what happened then? Let me paraphrase the feeling with “bare disillusionment”, for after 30 seconds only you are brought back to reality as if you were struck by lightning. Unfortunately the wish that TANQERAY would finally be able to spread their power that is so natural live is not fulfilled. Compared to “Babylon Burns”, “With A Smile” was almost over-produced, there at least the guitars and the drums spread some power, with the new EP you will search in vain for pushing basses and even with the bass control cranked up to the maximum nothing moves in the house. The title track “Babylon Burns”, which acts as opener, can really convince musically but due to the weak production the power sticks in its throat even with the utmost effort. Without a doubt this song will rock thoroughly live, but on a disc it takes more to rock out. Talking about rocking out, on the musical territory they have somewhat strayed from the Metal roots, which does not disturb at all though and fits the band very well, as “The Foggy Dew” is also very appealing and once again makes TANQERAY’s devotion to traditional folk seem doubtlessly authentic.
But this slight change in style mentioned could quite be traced back to the two line-up changes, too. Major Tom (drums) and Sir Tobi (acoustic & electric fiddle) left the band, which is why the band quickly started searching for new fellows and finally found them in drummer Don Kronos and violinist Count Vlad. With “The Wheel Of Life” they make somewhat more sharpness arise again and especially in those moments you could curse the man at the mixing desk, because once again he deprives the song of its force. With the closing ROLLING STONES cover version “Sympathy For The Devil” this acoustic fault is not that striking as due to its age, the original does not come out of the speakers very powerfully for today’s conditions and possibilities (STONES fans will curse me now). At least I think so as an absolute non-ROLLING STONES fan, but in my opinion this was no reason to make “Babylon Burns” worse than it actually is, as you cannot complain about the quality of the songs.
That is why every Folk Rock or Metal fan should listen to this EP and give it a chance because in any case, live the new songs can be sung or bawled along to really well again after some glasses of Irish whiskey. It is only sad that my expectations were not met and that I have to wait once again for the next sign of life by this band in form of a really excellently produced disc. (Online February 21, 2005)