Tankard - "Thirst" (CD)
"Thirst" track listing:
1. Octane Warriors
2. Deposit Pirates
3. Stay Thirsty!
5. Echoes Of Fear
6. When Daddy Comes To Play
7. Zodiac Man
10. Sexy Feet Under
Reviewed by bloodofheroes on April 8, 2009
Tankard is not subtle. They play thrash metal, and are all about booze. Their new album “Thirst” is exactly what you'd expect from the band that created the “alcoholic metal” genre and are the self-proclaimed “kings of beer.”
Amazingly though, the first song “Octane Warriors” is not an AC/DC thrash-style ode to Everclear, but a political rant on OPEC and the oil issues between the middle east and the west. The song has a strong thrash base, with mid-tempo repeated chords, the standard shouted thrash vocals, and double-kick drums buried in the mix. A solid guitar solo leads into a bridge, then one more verse, and out.
Even more amazingly, there are more songs on the album about social and political issues (6) than alcohol and related topics (4). Tankard keeps their irreverent tone and subject matter, as “Myevilfart” is about rude behavior at a party, and “Sexy Feet Under” is about foot fetishes. But they have also matured, singing about Greek mythology, sexual abuse, and the afterlife, among other things. After 12 previous albums almost entirely dedicated to the good life, Tankard has taken a step back and examines some more serious issues.
The music has matured along with the subject matter. “When Daddy Comes to Play” is a perfect example. A slow chord progression starts it off, then into a subtly double-tracked guitar riff during the verses and a heavy single riff during choruses. The vocals are the best part though, as vocalist Andreas Geremia trades in his standard shout for a style that is almost spoken. It sounds alternately brutally desperate and then weakly defiant. Just the vocals alone give the sense that there is no way out, and the character in the song is scarred for life. The hard riffs underneath the whole thing heighten the sense of desperation, and by the end of the song, during the children’s choir outro, the listener feels as trapped and distraught as the lyrics describe.
Throughout the album Tankard displays range and versatility in their thrash music roots, as each song is distinctly thrash, but each is also distinctly separate from the others. “Zodiac Man” features a syncopated stop-start riff, “G.A.L.O.W.” is driven by a strong rolling bass line, and “Hypothermia” is almost a punk song. The only low point throughout the album are the vocals, as Geremia has only one real singing style and note, with the only departure being the aforementioned “When Daddy Comes to Play.” By the end of the album the vocals really grate on the ears, and all the listener wants is an instrumental track to relax with.
All in all, the kings of beer have sobered up some and come home, and it is nice to see them enjoying their sobriety. Hopefully they will stay somewhat clean, as they have a lot to offer thrash metal, both with and without beer.
Highs: The mature subject themes paired with fresh thrash metal is a great combination.
Lows: The vocals grate after just a couple songs.
Bottom line: Another excellent effort from still maturing thrash metal vets.
Get more info including news, reviews, interviews, links, etc. on our Tankard band page.