Tankard – A Girl Called Cerveza Review

Tankard // A Girl Called Cerveza
Rating: 2.0/5.0 — Go to rehab? Yes, yes, yes!
Label: Nuclear Blast Records [EU | US]
Websites: tankard.info | myspace.com
Release Dates: EU: 2012.07.27 | US: 07.31.2012

I suppose it’s appropriate this album is on Nuclear Blast, because I’m certain the only things that would survive a nuclear war are cockroaches and their thrash metal equivalent: Tankard. After almost thirty years in the thrash biz and fifteen albums, the beer-soaked silliness from these Germanic sots continues unabated (technically, they aren’t retro-thrash, since they were part of the original wave and never went away). If you’ve heard ANY of their albums, you know exactly what’s coming your way on A Girl Called Cerveza. It’s more simplistic, beer-and-potatoes thrash rock with as much drunken fratboy toilet humor as they could puke up. These guys were never on the level of the bigs of Germanic thrash and they never will be, but somehow they’ve carved a niche for their jokey-hokey-pokey numbskull style. Sadly, Steel Druhm has never been much of a fan. Nearly all the Tankard songs I enjoyed were on their Chemical Invasion album way back in ’87 and since then, I’ve tried to give them a wide berth. That ended when I joined AMG and was waterboarded by the third-rate tedium of 2011’s Vol(l)ume 14. I was not impressed. Nor am I impressed with this new platter of party thrash. It’s worse than Vol(l)ume 14 but only slightly (like the difference between a beer left out all night and a beer left out all night plus ten minutes). It suffers from all the same issues and I feel like I could cut-and-paste my prior review and just swap out song titles. Because I care, I’ll do this the hard way, but you all owe me.

As Tankard rumbled through the years, they’ve become more and more like Tom Angelripper’s side project Onkel Tom Angelripper. That’s a German pub rock band that sings odes to alcohol abuse with happy, sing-along choruses. The problem is, Onkel Tom can be fun to listen to. Tankard just sounds like generic, worn-out quasi-thrash with painfully dumb lyrics. While opening track “Rapid Fire (A Tyrant’s Legacy)” has moments of promise and flashes of sincere old school charm, it’s far from a must-hear and never rises above average. The title track is dumb as hell but manages a memorable Korpiklaani-like chorus and respectable riffs. From there however, it’s straight to the gutter with generic and uninspired party anthems like “Witch Hunt,” “Master of Farces” and “Son of a Fridge.” As bad as those songs are, they can’t hold a candle to the wretched “The Metal Lady Boy,” which details the creepy love affair between a metal dude and a transgendered boy. It’s distasteful and bad in every way a song can be bad. Making it even more regrettable, Tankard somehow managed to convince the legendary Doro Pesch (Warlock, Doro) to contribute vocals, thereby dragging her down into the muck with them (Doro, if you need a shoulder to cry on, I’m around). As the rest of A Girl Called Cerveza grinds out, only closer “Running on Fumes” struck me as tolerable. High praise, eh?

With a ratio of three decent songs out of ten, there are obviously issues here aplenty. Firstly, I don’t like Gerre’s vocals. He has an annoyingly nasal shout and sounds like Tom Angelripper’s snotty kid brother. He hurts even the decent tracks and he’s just not my cup of tea (mug of beer, whatever). Nextly, the vast majority of the riffs cobbled together by Andy Gutjahr are generic and uninspired. They sound like the riffs a high school band would come up with and they remind me why thrash died out by the ’90s. On top of that, most of this stuff isn’t really heavy or truly thrashy. It’s more like a slower, washed out variant of thrash.

From a song writing perspective, they rarely manage to craft memorable ones and only bits and pieces will stick with you. Adding to the problem, most of the songs here are too long. Since they’re a comedic, gimmicky band, they should hit the joke and move on, but these things just keep recycling and beating you with the same juvenile humor until it’s completely played out. Speaking of gimmicks, I rarely find their humor all that funny. The lyrics are too cheesy to be clever or witty and I mean it when I say, most kids could do these Bevis and Butthead lyrics as well or better.

Now I’ve bashed back-to-back Tankard albums [If it makes you feel any better, I’m on the hook for the next In This Moment AMG]. I’m getting as consistent as they are. If you need cheeseball, beer-themed humor in your metal, I would point you toward Onkel Tom. If pressed, I guess I’d eventually suggest these guys, but only the old stuff. The new material is just plain… flat. Okay, now I need a freaking beer. Who’s buying? [I think the A&R staff at Nuclear Blast should pick up the tabAMG]

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