Tankard-RIBCan you imagine having a hangover every day for 30 years straight? If Tankard live up to their brew-soaked legacy at all, they probably aren’t imagining it. They’re living it. Now, German thrash is a revered branch of the metal tree so you know the names. If there was a “Big Four” of Teutonic thrash, they’d be Kreator, Sodom and Destruction. No, my math isn’t off and no, I’m not a dozen beers in and forgot how to count. The fourth position would be up for grabs for a bevy of second and third tier bands like Darkness, Exumer, Deathrow, Iron AngelParadox… the list goes on. Good ‘ol Tankard is on that list. There isn’t very much setting these lesser acts apart either. I’m familiar with most of the Germanic thrash armada and aside from Paradox‘s Heresy, I’ve yet to come across an album by a lower tier band that grabbed me from start to finish. I’m not as familiar with Tankard as many of their contemporaries, but I went into R.I.B. expecting pretty much exactly what I found.

R.I.B. starts off in fine fashion with “War Cry.” A melodic clean guitar introduction slides right into a frantic riff and screaming vocals, starting off on a high note that, sadly, isn’t reached again. “Fooled By Your Guts” takes things down a notch, but still maintains a level of ferocity that much of the rest of the album lacks. After the next handful of songs come pouring out, it becomes apparent that Tankard still suffer from the same affliction as many of their peers – the occasional memorable song broken up by lots of stylistically repetitive and interchangeable parts and, every once in a while, a song like “No One Hit Wonder” that stands out by being cringe-inducing.

“Hope Can’t Die” is as close as they get to a ballad, and while the lyrics about a fallen friend touch some Dean Markley Blue Steel heartstrings, it really doesn’t work. As tiresome as the goofy songs Tankard are known for can sometimes be, they fall even flatter when they stray from that formula. “Enemy of Order,” for example, is a musical step up from some of the flatter tracks on R.I.B. but lyrically, while more topical than their standard fare (ranting about government intrusions into privacy and surveillance), it hits a brick wall like a drunk driver with the line, “Facebook is Tracebook, Google and Apple too. Structures I believed in turned out to be unsecure.”

Tankard_2014

The production is clean and clear. The bass is audible throughout, though the guitars could use a little more crunchy bottom end. R.I.B. is well-recorded but in need of more grit and grime like the band had on their debut, Zombie Attack. The performances are fine. Everyone in the band can play, but like a master chef making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it’s the ingredients that hold the whole dish back. On the whole, the song writing just isn’t there.

Had I been a Tankard fan since day one, I might have rode this train right to current day, like I did with Manowar until their recent re-recordings and that last poo pile of an album cast even me out of Valhalla. I get why people are Tankard fans, but listening to R.I.B. with my now ancient, seasoned ears doesn’t do much more than provide the occasional moment of fist pumping while the rest slides by like spilled beer down the runner of a dirty old bar. I can imagine them being a blast live, with all that beer-drenched enthusiasm feeding the crowd and I while I respect Tankard for their longevity, the more I listen the more I find myself wishing I liked R.I.B. a lot more than I do.

Bands like Overkill and Death Angel have been around as long and while they’ve certainly had a few ups and downs, have released albums in the last year as strong, or stronger, than anything they’ve ever done. When comparing R.I.B. to the new Overkill opus, our Chief Assistant Reviewer Supreme, Steel Druhm, summed this up so well I wish I’d said it myself: “Yeah, it’s definitely a case of one band aging like fine wine and another band aging like beer.” If you’re a young basher, Tankard might do it for you, but if you’re a crusty old thrash metal bastard like I am, this has been done before and much better.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6  |  Format Reviewed: 320 kbps MP3
Label: Nuclear Blast [EU][NA]
Websites: tankard.info   |  facebook.com/tankardofficial
Release Dates: EU: 2014.07.20  |  NA: 06.24.2014

Tagged with →  
Share →
  • Andres Pintos Nocerino

    you forget assassin

    • No he didn’t. I edited it out for space saving purposes.

  • MPC

    If Overkill didn’t released their “White Devil Armory” album this year, I would give “R.I.B.” at least 3.0 grade. But I completely agree with Al Kikuras here. This is your standard, usual Tankard that semi-kicks ass. I am a longtime Tankard fan, but this time… Overkill wins.

  • Good review! You were nicer than I was on their last two albums. I’m sure they appreciate it.

    • At this point they’d probably want to pee in both of our beers.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    They obviously had fun making the video for RIB it’s great!
    Better than the new Overkill video…

    • I actually like the overkill video, it may not be a behemoth-like superproduction but at least it’s not a lyric video. And the simplicity works very well with the music directness IMO.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        I do as well,
        Tho its hard to compete with a video featuring ten pin bowling, science experiments, chanting monks, nubile beer maidens, a baby in a slayer shirt and a locker room keg party.
        This is almost as good as Suicidal Tendencies Institutionalized video

    • Tankard pretty obviously have fun doing everything they do. They’re drunk. I like Tankard kind of how I like Anvil. I like them more than their music. There’s a reason both got pretty much smoked by many their contemporaries. They’re not as good. I almost put this in the review but knew I was getting too wordy. Check the lyrics to ‘No One Hit Wonder.’ They ask the question in one verse and then answer it themselves by how cringeworthy the next one is:

      Where is the justice
      For our songs?
      Cause we are Tankard!
      Where the hell did we go wrong?

      No one hit wonder!
      We’re rolling thunder
      No one hit wonder!
      From over yonder
      No one hit wonder!
      Like Knack’s Sharona?
      Or Teen Spirit moaner?

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        ha no hit wonder why’s..
        At least they make entertaining videos