Sunday Old School: Tankard
Looking back through the Sunday Old School archives, we certainly seem to love our thrash metal. We’ve covered most of the big names in British thrash, a large number of American bands and a good portion of the German scene. However there is one band we have yet to cover in this column that hails from the last country mentioned, a band who will be releasing their sixteenth studio album this week. A band which goes by the name of Tankard. Tankard were formed in 1982 in the city of Frankfurt, located in the state of Hessen, by classmates, Andreas "Gerre" Geremia and Frank Thorwarth on vocals and bass respectively, as well as fellow pupil, Axel Katzmann, who played guitar. They became notorious for their heavy drinking even at an early age, when they would pour milk out of the cartons at school and fill them with beer, fuelling their good time thrash metal and helping them become party favourites. After two demos, "Heavy Metal Vanguard" and "Alcoholic Metal," the band eventually signed with Noise Records, though not before being passed on by SPV, who were shocked by the drunkenness exhibited by the group at a live show.
Their debut album was released in 1986 under the title, "Zombie Attack," which was quite well received by metal fans, especially in their native Germany. This was followed only a year later with their sophomore record, "Chemical Invasion," which was something of a concept album based around the arguments over the planned Beer Purity Law in Europe. Once again, they received positive feedback for their effort and continued performing live and earning themselves a reputation as one of the best thrash metal bands in Germany.
After a split release with Swiss neighbours and Noise label mates, Celtic Frost in 1988, Tankard released their third album the same year, "The Morning After," complete with an album cover that summed up so many people’s Sunday mornings all too well. This concluded an excellent trilogy of first albums which many fans still rank as among the best the group ever recorded, this grouping made in part because of the fairly lukewarm response to their fourth album, "The Meaning of Life" in 1990. This album saw the band experimenting a little, though not enough for some fans who felt that the record was rather monotonous, and too much for others who felt it didn’t match their previous works.
The surprises continued with their fifth album, "Stone Cold Sober," which featured a rather strange choice of a cover song in the form of the J Geils Band hit, "Centrefold." It also marked a departure in terms of lyrics, with less focus being put on their usual subject of beer, which earned them some praise amongst the critics for branching out in this way. The album itself was also hailed as something of a return to form by fans who were disappointed with, "The Meaning of Life" and the plaudits continued with the 1994 release of, "Two-Faced" and "The Tankard," which hit the shelves the following year.
Following the somewhat disappointing, "Disco Destroyer" in 1998, Tankard got back to releasing seriously good metal music which has pleased fans ever since, beginning in the year 2000 with the justifiably entitled, "Kings of Beer." "B-Day" and "Beast of Bourbon" followed in 2002 and 2004 respectively before the group released their first DVD, "Fat, Ugly and Still (A)Live" in 2005. The band then did what so many long running bands have struggled to do and released perhaps the best work of their career in 2006 with the album, "The Beauty and the Beer," which gained near universal acclaim, with many thrash fans going as far as to declare it the thrash album of the year.
Tankard capitalised on this by releasing a compilation album, "Best Case Scenario: 25 Years in Beers," the next year, as well as a box set entitled, "Alcoholic Metal Since 1982," before a thirteenth studio album, "Thirst" hit the shelves in 2008. It continued the pattern of receiving good reviews and spawned a tongue in cheek music video for the track, "Stay Thirsty." Following "Thirst," the band proceeded to release an album every two years, with "Vol(l)ume 14" being released in 2010, followed by, "A Girl Named Cerveza" in 2012. Only a few days ago, Tankard kept this trend going by releasing their sixteenth studio album, "R.I.B." through Nuclear Blast Records. Early listening seems to indicate that this will be another triumph for a band that will go down in history as one of the best, and drunkest, in the story of German thrash metal.
Tankard - "Empty Tankard"
Tankard - "Chemical Invasion"
Tankard - "The Morning After"
Tankard - "Space Beer"
Tankard - "Minds on the Moon"
Tankard - "Metaltometal"
Tankard - "Stay Thirsty"
Tankard - "Rules For Fools"
Tankard - "A Girl Called Cerveza"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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