Tankard - R.I.B. (Nuclear Blast)

Boozing may be their task, but they ain't half bad at thrashing either...
Release Date: 
19 Jun 2014 - 11:30pm

Tankard. 32 years in the business. 13 full length albums, 10 members. 48,762 pints of lager sunk. Yet still they come. For a band that started off as some sort of Germanic comedy thrash outfit (I know, it still seems strange seeing the words Germanic and comedy in the same sentence but there you go), Teutonic titans Tankard seem to have made a pretty good fist at becoming one of German thrash’s iconic acts.

And after just two tracks of latest outing R.I.B. (That stands for Rest in Beer, in case you really hadn’t guessed) you can see why. Opening with the furious Kreator/Sodom bluster of War Cry is a meisterstoke (sorry, couldn’t resist it); Whilst there’s plenty of beer drinking taking place later on in the album it’s surely a good idea to kick proceedings off with some solid thrash metal and this is just that. Fooled by Your Guts is more standard Tankard fare, punky guitars topped off by a stupidly catchy chorus, before the title track rams the point home. Christ, I’ve been on the wagon for a month on doctors orders but all this talk about boozing is sorely testing my resolve…

Riders of the Doom and Hope Can’t Die highlight the more socially-aware side of Tankard, a side that often gets washed away in a sudsy tide of ullage-standard hack thrash but it’s important to remember that Tankard are more than just oafish stein-toting heinies on a mission to destroy livers. Riders… in particular has something worthwhile to say about those residing at the top end of town.

The autobiographical No One Hit Wonder is great; heads down riffage in extremis with another understated yet earwormy chorus. Guitarist Andy Gutjahr weighs in with some nice solo work here too.

Breakfast for Champions marries a simplistic riff – although chug levels are high, which is always good – to another great performance form vocalist Gerre; I really don’t remember him sounding this good throughout Tankard’s career, and when he barks ‘Liver! You will have to pay!!’ you’ll find yourself making like a goofy Cheshire Cat as you chant along. Fun times indeed!

Frantic thrasher Enemy of Order is ultimately forgettable, but no less enjoyable for all that whilst you’re actually listening to the track, whilst the juggernaut fury of Clockwise to Deadline is hard to ignore as it careers out of the speakers, powered by some fearfully good drumming from drummer Olaf Zissel. The song has got a real Motorhead feel to it, Gerre’s Ralf Scheepers-style howling notwithstanding; propulsive, rabble rousing, metal as fuck – however you describe it it’s a storming track.

All of which leaves The Party Ain’t Over ‘Til We Say So to close things out; As the title suggests, it’s a little lightweight after some of what’s been offered up previously, but this is Tankard we’re talking about, and you always have to take the solid with the liquid, right? “Fuck off, we’re here to stay” spits Gerre, and after thirty years in the business, I think he’s earned that right. Good stuff.