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The Beer Invasion - 80%

DesecratorJ, May 31st, 2019

Among all the famous or not so famous thrash bands from Germany, Tankard were always one of them that I did not quite enjoy as much as the others. Of course, cited as one of the "big four" of the German thrash scene, they are mostly known for their lyrical themes, which is mainly centered on alcohol and beer. I am quite surprised that these guys managed to sing about basically the same thing for 35 years. Well, lyrics apart, the music itself was pretty good, especially in the 80s. However, the issue I always had is that it didn't manage to keep me focused on their records. The amount of good and superior stuff in the genre is the primary reason though. At least, Tankard's first few records are worthy of being looked at for any thrashers out there. One thing we can give this band credit for is appearing differently from everyone else in the scene and not following the "Who makes the most evil music?" race.

Tankard being an old school thrash band among the almighty Sodom, Kreator and Destruction, they first released two demos in '84 and '85 and came out with their first full-length "Zombie Attack" the year after. The most notable thing to see on their music is the much more polished sound than the aforementioned bands at the same time for instance. Yet, the music is aggressive and technically great actually. The follow-up, "Chemical Invasion" was released one year later in 1987 and this is where we get to know what the band is all about. What we have on this album is ten tracks, on which the first one is a useless 17 seconds introduction that show a bit what's the band's mood. It really kicks-off with "Total Addiction", which I found funny since it's about drug addiction, but tells to drink beer instead. However, the intensity displayed on such track is always welcomed with how fast they actually play. I didn't really like the riffing on that song, but the thrashy vocals of Gerre and the drums of Oliver Werner are awesome. As much as I like to praise the music from this scene, I totally enjoyed half of the album content. The second track "Tantrum" has cool riffs, but in overall, it sounded quite similar to the album track "Chemical Invasion", especially on the chorus.

Apart from the similarity, the self-titled track is overall much better and has more variety. Some other highlights we can find on "Chemical Invasion" is the funny "Farewell to a Slut". This song has been one of my favorite of the band mainly because of its catchiness and classic intense thrash approach. Other than that, the near eight minutes of length "Traitor" is also quite entertaining if you don't mind its repetitiveness. It's straightforward most of the time, but has that heavy part in the middle that create some variations at least. The guys of Tankard still had musical skills to make such music, in fact, I was really surprised by that instrumental track named "Four a Thousand Beers". It show case a bunch of great riffs and it's a very well structured song that is beginning with a melodic approach and ends up heavy as hell. I found this quite unusual in such album, but definitely not out of place to me, unlike "Puke" for instance, which is just a minute of mess basically.

Although I genuinely only liked a handful of Tankard songs overall, we cannot deny the good production on their records, such as the one reviewed here. The sound will be flawless to those who don't like their thrash too primitive, but will still sound great to those old school thrashers that prefer the dark stuff. To sums it up, this album is not bad at all, but obviously not a masterpiece. Like mentioned above, there are amazing songs, but also useless and some not so memorable ones. Anyway, even if it's far from my top records in the thrash metal department, I still recommend this album since it's a fun and good piece of the German scene, the energy is there, and the riffs are brutal at times. You may as well dig this even more than I did, but in my book, this album and Zombie Attack are my recommendations of the Tankard records.

Highlights:

Chemical Invasion
Farewell to a Slut
For a Thousand Beers
Total Addiction
Traitor