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Sometimes people like to listen to thrash metal for the sheer fun of it, and those folks tend to like their fun poured into a tall, pint-sized beer mug. Thus we have Tankard, a band that exemplifies both German hard-hitting steel, as well as that ever-lurking sense of humor that some seem to believe doesn't exist. This is not a band for those who like to thrash in order to save the rainforest or conjure up evil spirits to scare the pants off of the socialites (though they will probably accomplish the latter by their musical execution alone), but rather a band to drink, party and occasionally laugh with for a rather unsubtle sense of irony. Circa 1986, this style still tended to be dominated by interest in Lovecraft and other assorted horror topics, and in this sense, "Zombie Attack" functions almost as the perfect parody of this trend, embodying the same musical ideas with a heavier dose of punk rock tendencies, while lyrically being about as subtle as a drunk slasher flick villain continually missing his victims and putting holes in the walls.
Stylistically speaking, this album is a one-dimensional affair, highlighting all the textbook cliches of the time, but presenting them in such a distilled fashion that they come off as fresh and vital each time they pass through the ear canal. The riffs cycle through a set of methodical, quasi-Metallica formula circa "Kill Em' All", while emulating the constant speed of Slayer's "Show No Mercy" in a somewhat more power/speed metal fashion comparable to early Destruction. Indeed, it could be stipulated that Tankard's missing out on associating with the Teutonic Trio has a lot to do with them sounding just a tad too similar to said band, much like another lesser known contemporary in Necronomicon. The lead guitar work is heavily reminiscent of the venting yet smooth sailing blues on crack character of Kirk Hammett's handiwork on the first 2 Metallica albums, and the vocals of Gerre sound pretty close to a higher pitched version of early James Hetfield gruff with a hint of a Kurt Brecht snarl at times.
It's tough to pick an absolute favorite out of the mix as the songs do tend to sound similar, whereas picking out the occasional fit of somewhat overdone comic ditty work can eliminate one or two from the running. "Alcohol" is arguably the only instance where these guys slip up a bit, as introducing an easy going bar tune intro followed by a monolithic, d-beat steeped punk song doesn't fall flat on its own, but stands out in almost as blatant a way as those sub-20 second jokes woven into Nuclear Assault's early albums and "Speak English Or Die" without succeeding in delivering a clear punchline. On the other hand, the short and similarly punk infused "Thrash 'Till Death" cuts some serious heads and is definitely a standout effort. But for the real goods delivered in a slightly less bite-sized package, check out "Acid Death", "Maniac Forces" and "(Empty) Tankard" for some hyper speed, vertebrae shattering mayhem.
While it's understandable why this album may not be received in all quarters with festive celebration, it definitely has the effect of lifting one's spirits to such heights if the goal is thrilling music with a less than elaborate lyrical delivery. Arguably this album's greatest feature is those one-liner repeating gang choruses that make crowd participation obligatory as well as accessible. Though it doesn't quite deserve to be crowned as the end all, be all of 1986, it does exemplify why said year can be rightly considered the peak of the 80s era of thrash metal, which saw such an impressive display out of Germany to both rival and pay tribute to the ongoing efforts in the American west coast and elsewhere. Let's fill that goblet one more time my good lad, and maybe after 3 or 4 more times through the "Zombie Attack" experience, you'll finally become a man.
Hard to imagine that in 1986 Germany let loose two thrashterpieces that were so completely different in absolutely every way. Kreator was trying to disembowel you, and crack your head on the walls a thousand times. Tankard wanted to have a drink with you and your pals and just watch some flicks and have fun. I mean just look at the two album covers and you know just how different they are. Though the comparison is a bit like apples to oranges, I must say that I very slightly prefer this album.
Tankard for me is a guilty pleasure. When I told my friends that I was listening to them and loving it, I admitted to the bit of shame I have. The band based themselves off of alcohol, something I happen to despise (what it does to you and the god awful taste). Besides that though, I figured basing your music off of something like that couldn't be good in any way. And for that reason I refrained from trying them out for a very long time. But if you have the same reservations I had, let me tell you that the band is in no way a joke. The music here is gritty punk/thrash speed metal that is dead (ha!) serious! Sure, the lyrics can be a bit daft at times, but they go well with the fun lighthearted riffing that dominates the sound of this album. The riffs are all cut from the same cloth as it were, with a lot of punk riffs played fast and with a thrash metal punch and grind to them. Sliding is favored in a lot of the riffs as well, possibly to coat the music in a drunken blur that I happen to adore.
This 'drunken' sound is very fresh even today, with no album in my collection that really matches the tone. The riffs taking hold of that alcoholic sludgy sound fit perfectly with it, and are catchy as hell. The speed, slides, and tone mix together to form a cocktail of chaotic thrash perfection. The bouncy bass lines, just high enough to sock you in the face, but not so much to take away from the razor sharp guitar work. Throw in a varied drum performance with great rhythm and plenty of nice fills. And somehow with all of this craziness, it all comes off so crisp, despite the lo-fi production values!
What can tie this mass of drunken mayhem into a package that can be consumed all at once? Gerre that's what! The unique touch that tops off Tankard's unique sound here is one of the most distinct vocalists I’ve heard in metal. Maybe his German accent just really works in his favor, but he turns the wonky I-can-tell-English-isn't-your-first-language lyrics and makes them catchy as all hell! I actually read through some lyrics here on the archives thinking to myself that it must be one of the most awkward vocal displays ever. But not at all! Sure, similarly to Pleasure to Kill, the chorus of every song involves saying the title multiple times, but more often than not it is worked into a more developed chorus that just works. Like on Mercenary, Chains, and Poison. I mean, Gerre even gets me to sing along with such lines as "We wanna drink some fucking beer!" or "Come and drink alcohol! Come and drink some beer with me!" His style is hard to describe in words, so just sample some songs and hear it for yourself.
What songs to sample? Good question! There isn't a song here I would want to be without, though I do have some favorites. (Empty) Tankard was the one song that had to grow on me first, but now it's easy to see why it's a signature song of the band. That opening/closing riff that sounds like something Sabbath would write in their prime, and the manic riff intensity that goes on after the intro. Zombie Attack itself opens with a very fitting and amusing intro, even on repeated listens, and goes into the trademark punk/thrash assault that riddles the album. And it is fun as hell to mimic the way Gerre slurs "Zombieeee Ataaaaaahhhhhhhk!" Mercenary has one of the best main riffs and choruses here, and is a definite highlight, with a great use of gang shouts. Poison is in the same category with Mercenary, with some great infidelity lyrics. Maniac Forces and Alcohol have great intros, the former of which seamlessly transforms into the main riff of the song, and boy is it a doozie! The rest are still great songs, but don't quite stand out as much as the rest. Screaming Victims being the one song I would change, as I would prefer a slightly less repetitive chorus.
So in conclusion, if Tankard isn't on your thrash radar, then you have made a mistake! This is a fantastic debut that is as fun as it is distinct. I can raise my tankard and thrash along with the band, even if mine is full of Dr. Pepper! And remember, the band may be joking around, but the music ain't no joke!
The debut album from German beer-thrashers Tankard, “Zombie Attack,” may not be the highlight of their lager-soaked repertoire but there’s enough hints of something happening that it manages to rise above and become a solid part of the band and their legacy.
With a film score intro straight out of a zombie flick, the title track starts off nicely before unleashing a thrashing groove and relentless drumming to pummel forth a classic Tankard track, the manic energy of the band matched by the goofy lyrics and a rather chaotic solo to round things off nicely. Next track ‘Acid Death’ is another thrash winner, with a pummeling drum intro, up-tempo beat and thrashing riffs to make for a fine double-shot dose of thrash with better riff-work, a tighter solo and one of their trademark catchy choruses rounding things out. Next track, and album highlight ‘Mercenary’ is just pure thrash fun, with a series of off-the-wall chaotic riffing and hyper-speed drumming that keeps the song rolling forward at impeccable speed as the charging vocals and background shouts just add to the chaos and creates the frenetic classic of the album they would explore in the years to come. With its intro of tolling bells and crushing drums, ‘Maniac Forces’ starts off ominously before turning into a thrashing rage with more tight riff-work, thrashing tempos and those trademark Tankard choruses that make for another refreshing thrash song, and even its extended running time allows for some impressive change-ups and expanded soloing to be thrown into the mix. The first half ends with a whimper as the punk-ish ‘Alcohol’ starts off with a western-square-dancing like bass-solo before giving way to a simplistic thrashing song that’s been heard all too often elsewhere in this one, and is imminently skippable.
This is rectified in the second half with one of the band’s most endearing classics, ‘(Empty) Tankard’ that starts off with the sort of riff that seems destined to lead a beer-hall full of drunks into a riot only change-up into one of their fastest, most-rousing songs off the album and the chaotic riffing is placated with the furious drumming and impressive bass-work that meshes so well with their classic thrash roots and is given a great outro as well. The punk returns with ‘Thrash ‘Till Death’ with a simplistic-yet-chaotic riff overload atop the bands’ thrashing tone and works a lot better at the style than the earlier attempt in ‘Alcohol’ yet the short running time doesn’t leave much chance for an impression. The chaotic ‘Chains’ is pure energy unleashed, with a frenetic thrash riff pounding out in the opening and generating an interesting change-up in the later half with the song given a chance to breathe instead of being so tightly-wound during a final solo-work that stands among the albums’ best, and is overall one of the more diverse on the album. Despite easing up on the throttle, ‘Poison’ is one of the album’s best with a memorable thrashing riff and a more laid-back style that cleverly uses the punk influence in the right manner with simplistic, pounding drums and a catchy, memorable chorus all intermingled nicely in one outstanding, at-least-for-Tankard-standards, melodic thrash affair. It closes with a fury again in ‘Screamin’ Victims’ with another off-the-rails intense and frenetic thrash song complete with the rousing backing vocals, pounding drums and thrashing guitar-riffing to end on a high note.
Frankly, there’s not too much to dislike with this classic first-release, beyond the two straight-up punk-influenced songs that stick out like sore thumbs here with their simplistic riffing and uninspired performances that clearly show the band is far too technically accomplished to be bothered with such frivolous activities. The majority of the songs here, though, are clear thrash through-and-through and contain those pounding drums, insane vocals and impressive musicianship that would soon become the band’s trademark style in the years to come, making this not just a fun retrospective of the band for the long-time fans but clearly an accomplished effort that shows a band with a ton of potential just starting to figure out what to do with it, and remains one of their finest efforts as such.
Tankard are a band who love to drink beer and play noisy, filthy and heavy speed metal, The band is quite clearly influenced by bands such as Venom and albums such as Kill 'Em All must have inspired them to start their own band. They even pay homage to the album by quoting one of it's most famous lines,Bang your head against the stage like you never did before. Bulk of the album is just solid speed metal with pretty silly lyrics. It's extremely unoriginal but still very enjoyable. This isn't thinking man's speed metal and if you're expecting something along the lines of bands such as Artillery, Be warned.
The vocals have a punkish attitude which are obviously influenced by bands such as Motorheard, The vocal delivery is amusing, "Acid death" and "Thrash till death" both sound like "As they day-ance". It's funny and not meant to be taken very seriously as you will see. If you're looking for enlightening and thought provoking lyrics to go along with your thrash, Look elsewhere. It's for beer drinkers and headbangers only.
All we have here are simple and speedy riffs which can be found on pretty much any other thrash albums of the past by Metallica, Slayer, Exodus and even bands such as Venom. They are not very technical, easy to follow and moderately catchy. The solos are well executed but they don't really leave an impression. Standard speed metal solos that have little to no memorability. The bass is present in the mix, Which is a boost but most of the time it's just playing along the guitar riffs note for note with no innovation. Not that you need innovation in a tankard album, This is all there fans need. The drummer does a solid job, Moderately fast drumming with very little in the way of variety, Same beats are repeated through the whole album. Gerre has a very harsh and dirty vocal style with consists of purely scratchy, loud and obnoxious shoutings.
Everything is a bit too repetetive, Including the vocals, It's almost impossible to distinguish between two songs on the album except for some of the better tracks such as "Mercenary" which has some of the most rude vocals known to man, He is screaming all over the underlying riffs and it makes for a fun listen. "Zombie attack" is a great opener and is probably a permanent fixture in their live performances. The chorus parts are pretty catchy on most of the songs and just holds up the album enough to keep it interesting. If Metallica gave the thrash metal anthem "Whiplash", Tankard almost did the same with "Thrash till death", Which is a popular line quoted by many thrash metal fans. So i guess tankard aren't so obscure and unknown as i once thought they were.
Highlights : Some of the funnier moments such as the chorus of the 8th song which sounds like someone asking for spare change, "change?!... change?!".
I can think of only three reasons why this album did not become an instant legend and the band a household name.
1. Master of Puppets
2. Reign in Blood
3. Somewhere in Time
Granted, those are three great reasons, but nonetheless, Tankard's debut Zombie Attack stands as one of the most wild, fun releases in the history of thrash/ speed metal. Born of a punk furor, the album rages with fast paced anthems to everything one could ever dream: zombies, warfare, and most importantly: alcohol. The band was rather blunt as to their obsession with teh beerz, one need not look past their chosen monicker to realize their association with the finer things in life. Zombie Attack is a painfully underrated record, and I look on with horror when reading the takes of others on this seminal and spectacular work.
But I am here to set the record straight. This is one of the very best releases of this genre, ever. Every track is fun, with maniacal, raw riffing, absurd lyrics that are also awesome, and hellish energies. It takes only the first track, "Zombie Attack" itself, to engrave itself into your memory, with the horribly endearing intro and all. Leatherpunk fistfucking rhythms scream into being over raucous, pounding drums and the sneering vocals of Gerre, who is probably the pinnacle of human evolution. The leads burn out of nowhere, the bass is having a blast below, and you leave the track sweating and drinking for your life, with nine more to go! "Acid Death" takes no time in returning you to filthy speed with hilarious Satanic lyrics, and I mean hilarious:
'The end is near we will fight
He is so cruel and likes the acid
Satan gave him the power to kill
Nobody thinks that he is the man
Who is killing without end'
No, nothing is lost in translation. "Mercenary" follows, another barn burning splatter of dirty gutter thrust, the guitars creating an acrobatic funhouse pattern and the chorus is totally fucking punk. "Maniac Forces" uses spooky bell slaps and vocal choir synths to build a cheesy atmosphere, which is all too soon broken by furious blinding speed. HOLY FUCK. If you cannot smash a beer bottle on someone or something to this track, why be alive? Tankard separates the men from the boys, and then sends those boys off scurrying to the local parish. Next up we have the band's bible "Alcohol", western swing succumbing to another blitz of angry drunken fist fighting. "Tankard (Empty)" continues the theme with some bluesy swagger, and as you predict, yes it changes into something fast, with lightning bass and punkish rhythms.
This album had me briefly flirting with the idea of joining a frat at University, that's how good it is. Tankard next unleashes their own "Thrash 'Till Death", long before the Destruction classic of the same title. "Chains" is a splatterfest of murder and mayhem via chain gang, "Poison" is a splatterfest of murder and mayhem when a man loves a woman, and "Screamin' Victims" is...well, a splatterfest about murder and mayhem. But what more could you need in 1986?
Zombie Attack is like the Fight Club of thrash metal. If you are a man, it will have an intrinsic value to your life. If you don't like it, you're not a man. And if you're not a man, listen to Ratt or something instead. I'll be over here, trashing up my local bar in a blinding berzerker barrage of testosterone and bad taste, waiting for the pavement to rise up and greet me with its cold, still embrace.
Highlights: everything until the inevitable hangover
Tankard always tried to be funny in the image the wanted to transmit but their music was not idiotic, senseless and banal. They always achieved the goal of writing down funny lyrics about parties, beer and mess but with the heavy support of the most classical thrash metal. Their debut is considered to be a small cult for the german thrash metal scene and we can notice also the importance of hardcore/crossover genre in the structures and sounds. Anyway, into the album now!
The intro is already weird and funny in its will to mock the horror movies, and then the riffs come in. The production is not exceptional and a bit old fashioned but not bad at all. The riffs are reminiscent of the first punk/thrash style and the drumming is on furious up tempo. The vocals by Gerre were already raspy, childish and scratchy. “Zombie Attack” has a great refrain and a good solo by the guitar. Everything is made to be funny and fast and they achieved the goal. The riffs sometimes are reminiscent of the first Onslaught but with less death/black metal touch, probably thanks to the clearer production.
The Metallica oriented riffs on “Acid Death” are almost copied in style but put on speed. The up tempo parts are always present and just on the refrain we can find less impulsive parts. A special mention must be done for the bass work that is always pounding and fast behind the guitars, following the same notes and style. This is not technical at all because we cannot find duets or things like that but it supports the structures in an always quite good way. More of the same riffs and up tempo part can be found on the relentless and punkish “Mercenary”. The refrain made by chorus is recognizable and very catchy if not that great.
“Maniac Forces”, after the bells intro, is always fast and heavy but the riffs this time are not that convincing, copying a bit from the ones on the other songs. However, the refrain is better and catchy as well as the stop and go parts. “Alcohol” is uncompromisingly fast and relentless and funny and with “(Empty) Tankard” the hard rock influences are present on the first riffs to continue with the classic up tempo parts and the more direct riffs that once again suffer from the impossibility to standout. The refrain is, as always, well-audible but the rest is just goodish in its violence.
“Thrash Till Death” and “Chains” follow the same style and after awhile this turn to be too boring and without signs of change. Even the guitars are almost on the same riffs even if the refrains are always recognizable. The songwriting is not that developed even if we can also find some, very short more various breaks but nothing more. I’m becoming bored and I’m not talking about a progressive album of 75 minutes of music but a thrash one of 36 minutes…it’s almost unbelievable. “Poison” is more or the same like also the final “Screamin'' Victims” and at the end I feel myself a bit tired.
On each song the refrain is catchy but the rest is a bit too common and similar. I’m not going to give this album a bad mark but Tankard had to grow a lot, even if their music never astonished me…It’s a decent piece of thrash metal but surely there were better thing in 1986.
Okay, so I would never have thought that liking Tankard was something that is controversial within thrash, but the more you live the more you see, I guess. Perhaps it is because the internet is pretty heavily dominated by American culture, because here in eastern Europe, and I know that elsewhere in Europe as well, Tankard is one of the basic staples of thrash metal. For me, it is the kind of thrash that is in fact very good and achieves what it wants to very well, and what they want to achieve is a bunch of fun music to get drunk and violent to.
And this album has it all, the solos are nice, and easy to follow, they are short enough to remain fun for how primitive they are. There is a shit load of awesome double time beats left and right, some cool punk riffs on the guitar, nice ‘metal’ passages reminiscent of early speed/heavy metal, with choruses you can really pump your fist to, lyrics about beer, Satan, death, movies, the whole nine yards. They even have the terrible German accent that made thrash form that area of earth popular, and indeed, it fits the music very well, you might say he complements the songs with his inadequate English. It is just straight up and to the point thrash, and if you do not know what to listen to when you are drinking, this one is a no brainer.
Tankard are a thrash band from Germany, and when I heard their debut album 'Zombie Attack,' I was instantly hooked. During a time when I was the ultimate thrash junkie, I came upon this album on the internet while searching for new material.
Upon obtaining a copy, I was pleased with the results. First of all, the production is excellent. The very raw guitars are heard in all their crunchy glory, and this is one of the few rare thrash albums where bass is heard throughout. The drums have a nice crisp and clear sound, and the vocals are mixed above the music well. The production is not perfect, but is perfectly suited for maximum level blasting.
What you'll hear in this album is a very simple garage metal. What this means is you'll hear a lot of very simple power chord riffs played at ridiculously fast tempos with fast bass and screaming vocals. You'll also hear goofy metal lyrics that deal with killing, war, and of course, the unbridled glory of alcoholic beverages. You'll also occasionally hear words like 'fastly,' but this understandable since Tankard have not yet mastered the English language. Find the lyrics to 'The Morning After' to see real Tankard lyrics.
Gerre's voice is absolutely raw on this album! His high-pitched screams really add to the overall heaviness of the album, and are an important part of the appeal of Tankard. The drums usually play simple 'bass-snare-bass-snare' patterns, so if you're expecting blast beats and Gene Hoglan style fills, you'd better look elsewhere. Oliver Werner is an excellent drummer, and he sounds very much like Philthy Animal Taylor. The guitar solos are a low point of the album, as they are very simple, fast, and sloppy. This is just a minor problem though.
If you like thrash, you might want to pick this one up. But be warned, this album is very primitive compared to 'Peace Sells,' Reign in Blood,' or 'Master of Puppets' that came out in the same year. If you're looking for a thrash album like "Time Does Not Heal' or 'Victims or Deception,' you won't find it here.
Tankard is one of the early German thrash bands. They are pretty underappreciated, even though they're easily destroyed by the likes of Kreator. This is their debut, and it's already a good indication that these guys are drunkards who love to play metal. And they do a pretty decent job at it too, though with Chemical Invasion in 1987 they would really start kicking some ass.
This album is pretty much average speed/thrash metal. The songs are all played at around the same pace. Which is quite fast, if you're wondering.
The songs themselves all follow the same pattern. They have a couple of verses carried by one riff throughout the song, plus a simple chorus with a nice underlying riff, and a usually decent solo. However, they do overdo the solos sometimes by playing them too fast without thinking of decent riffs. It's not exactly the most brilliant album you'll listen to. After four songs you've heard most of the album, so it gets somewhat repetitive in the end as well.
Still, when all is said and done the album is pretty effective, no matter how simple one thinks it is. The songs all have pretty decent riffs, and the choruses are fun and catchy. This especially applies to 'Acid Death' and 'Maniac Forces', which both have ultra-catchy choruses and are quite fun songs. If you are a beer freak and you think Tankard is the best thrash band ever, then you'll love this. It's a decent album at best, though.
It comes together in one pack with Chemical Invasion. If you're a thrash fan, you'll surely want to pick that one up, because it thrashes far harder! Together with Chemical Invasion, it's worth getting. A couple of fun listens guaranteed.
A nice debut but far from the quality of their next two albums. Mostly song are pretty generic with the same format over and over and the production wasn’t all that well. Still there are reasons enough to own and play this Tankard album.
Most important of course is the intensity of the album. High speed thrash metal with a raging attitude that is to be expected from a group on a debut. For instance ‘Mercenary’, and ‘Empty Tankard’ have a memorable chorus but a lot of the other songs just have Gere screaming the title over a certain riff. This of course isn’t bad but there are too many songs on which this trick is repeated therefore making the album somewhat monomtome.
Still there are plenty of riffs and songs that can be called Tankard classics. The title track has some excellent riffs and the best song is the famous ‘Empty Tankard’. Other highlights include ‘Maniac Forces’ and ‘Mercenary’. The punky edge in the performance is very obvious here yet the band wasn’t up to full speed yet. As aid the production was pretty flat and dull and didn’t do the material any good.
This is actually some poorly constructed thrash/speed metal in the 1984 style. An eighth-rate Bonded by Blood, with most of the thrash elements gone. Certainly not Show no Mercy, though that one is approached at times. This seems like a parody of the Exumer debut, with some badly done Metallica-style solos thrown in.
There's precisely one great thrash riff to be found on this album, and it occurs at 1:54 of the song "Chains". Now THAT is how to do the middle break of a thrash song. The rest? Shitty breaks, soft-around-the-edges production, solos that are overfast for the sake of overfast (see: Hammett, Kirk), and of course the ridiculously badly thought out choruses. ACID DEATH! ACID DEATH! ACID DEATH! Okay, we get the point.
Then throw in some very average-ish thrash riffs. The above-mentioned chorus has a decent riff between repetitions, but then you have your average under-verses and other glue riffs, and they pretty much sound exactly the same. You thought Reign in Blood was repetitive, and all the songs blurred together? Try this album. There really is no differentiating most of the songs here.
Then, throw in the completely ball-less production. This sounds too slick to be a demo, but it entirely lacks crunch. Stuff sounded heavier in 1982, and had far more attitude to go - here, they totally sound like they're going through the motions. This is "happy fun" thrash that makes State of Euphoria seem like Suffocation. Not quite Sacred Reich level, since they don't slow down all that much, but the stuff is far too cute and melodic to be really called thrash. It's not all that much power-metal either, as it lacks the vicious riffage and the actual catchiness. I wouldn't be surprised if these melodies were lifted out of an instruction book for first graders... they're that fucking dumb.
So what is it then? A failure, that's what. Throw in the shitty shouted vocals and the dumbass gang choruses, and you end up with a real flop of an album.