Tankard - Beast Of Bourbon (AFM Records) 2004
1. "Under Friendly
Yes, I know, it's about freakin' time that I started a Tankard page. I've received plenty of letters from people stating "how can you be such a thrash maniac and not have Tankard?" Frankly, I just don't know how and why these guys escaped me for so long. "Beast of Bourbon" seems to be as good a place to start as any. Many thrash bands seem to be inspired by political topics, others prefer darker subjects of war and violence, while still others have a religious messages. Tankard's message is one of beer, beer and more beer. Being a German band, a country where beer runs freely, I suppose this is a natural and somewhat humorous subject matter for a thrash band. With song titles like "Die With a Beer in Your Hand" and "Dead Man Drinking", you can't help but crack as smile and chuckle. Doing a bit of research on this album I discovered that there is almost a concept running throughout this album, one that is as humor filled as one might expect. The basic premise is that an alien stole Tankard's beer and they are extremely ticked about it and are seeking revenge. Musically, however, Tankard are some serious, in-your-face, thrash metal. These guys are easily on par with their German counterparts, Sodom, Kreator, Accuser, etc. Full throttle guitar riffs, speedy licks, ultra fast double bass, aggressive vocals, lots of tempo changes, etc. It's all there. Within a listen or two any thrash fan should find themselves enjoying what's going on here.
1. Ice-Olation (5:10)
Tankard's 2006 release is another fine example of crunchy, headbanging, beer-soaked thrash metal. As the title and album cover suggests, Tankard don't take themselves too seriously. Anyone not in on the joke probably thinks that this band is one of the corniest bands on earth. For the most part the lyrics deal with the bands favorite subject, beer, suds, ale, lager, drinking and more beer. The band also delivers a fun, albeit cheesy fun, metal anthem titled "MetaltoMetal". "Metal will ever survive, Metal to Metal and guts to guts, no Country no Hip Hop, that's driving me nuts.." Regardless of the cheese factor, I have to nod along in total agreement. It's just fun and super catchy. Like previously stated, it's all tongue-in-cheek fun and Tankard don't take themselves too serious.
Lyrics and album cover aside, the music is no joke. The songs range from fast and furious to mid-paced, head-banging fury with hardly a mellow moment at all. Their songs are delivered with an almost punk-like fury, never delving into overly technical songwriting. The simplicity of the songs also allows the band to write some memorable hooks, whether those hooks be the riffs themselves or the shout-along choruses. Guitarist Andy Gutjahr also unleashes some lethal guitar solos. The production is top-notch as well, balancing a mix that allows the band to sound raw and heavy, while every instrument is clearly heard and in it's proper place. It's razor sharp without being too digital or over polished.