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Alcoholics learn their instruments - 95%

slayrrr666, March 27th, 2013

The second album from German thrashers Tankard, "Chemical Invasion," not only stands the test of time as one of the band’s most enduring classics but also becomes one of Germany’s finest records ever made and shows the band is more than just a cheap gimmick band but something much more impressive overall.

With a cheap intro of a fizzling beer being opened and gulped down, proper first song ‘Total Addiction’ begins with the manic intensity and thrashing verve of their first album, even reaching more-intense levels with a hellish fury of drumming, frenzied shouting and controlled-chaos riffing that is one of the more pit-worthy thrash metal breakdowns ever and some memorable moments of calmness to break the chaos slightly. Follow-up effort ‘Tantrum’ is a slightly refined variation of the opener with a little more restrained riffing and a slightly less frenetic riffing style, but is still held in the mold of a thrashing Tankard song due to the backing gang-shouts and rocking pace. Even bigger rocker ‘Don't Panic’ follows suit with a melodic intro and some impressive riff-work that keeps the energy flowing despite the simplistic drumming on display, yet the guitar-work keeps it afloat long enough to make the thrashing intense enough for the track to work, eventually becoming one of its highlights. Again, though, the album’s first half ends with a weak note as the ultra-simplistic and really unworthy ‘Puke,’ as the main chaotic riff that opens this is suited more to a longer, more involved song as the barely-under-a-minute length doesn’t allow it time to do anything.

Luckily, again the second half comes into play with the instrumental epic ‘For a Thousand Beers,’ which becomes a crowning achievement for the band to hold against the naysayers who say they’re a one-note band. Filled with acoustic guitars, introspective riffing amongst the electrical bombast and even progressive elements as the sprawling length gives it all the time to sink in and breathe with time as a full-on thrasher, multi-tempo extravaganza, moody reflection piece and guitar-duel soloing during its phase. The title track puts things back into familiar territory with a swanky western-intro piece that segues into a thrash-based riff-fest as the guitars fizzle along at great speed and the drumming keeps in perfect step to create another classic song. The violent ‘Farewell to a Slut’ is one of the more brutal thrash songs in their history, with riffing as vicious as the vitriol spilled in the lyrics, and the band only slows down the attack to deliver a melodically-leaning solo that soon gives way right back to the kinetic, violent riff-work. This is also repeated in the album’s second epic ‘Traitor’ which follows the predictable Tankard style of intense thrashing riffs, crushing drums and a manic vocal delivery that leaves little room for melody as it’s far too interested in keeping things destructive as it winds its’ way through a serpentine series of riffs, solos and drumming that are in high-standard. All this is rounded off by a spirited cover of Gang Green’s ‘Alcohol,’ an entirely different track than what was on the debut but feels more in tone due to the punk-like riffs and simplistic approach, but is still one of the better choices for a cover song in the bands’ catalog.

Overall, this is a much more improved Tankard than what was shown on the debut, as they stretch themselves out a lot more and offers some lengthier, more technically-involved songs that are still in perfect keeping with the energy and feel of the debut. Gone is the punk influence and replaced with more thrash, and the progressive feel of some of their riffing is far more accomplished than most would ever dare to write in conjunction with the band, yet the same party vibe and cheesy lyrics remain in the sound, effectively giving the band a true classic in their discography and overall one of the finer thrash records to come from the prolific German scene of the 80s.