Tankard – R.I.B. (Rest in Beer) (Nuclear Blast)

Monday, 16th June 2014
Rating: 8/10

One of the real survivors from Noise Records’ mid-80’s signing spree that basically gathered up all the good up-and-coming German metal bands, Tankard have gone over the 30-year mark with their typical aplomb…or lack thereof. The band’s “beer metal” shtick is virtually unmatched, even in spite of how part-and-parcel the beverage has become in metal of late. (Actually, beer has always been a hot commodity in metal.) But their longevity is a marvel, same with the quality of their recent output, of which includes 2012’s brash A Girl Called Cerveza and now, R.I.B, which obviously, stands for “Rest in Beer.” (One doesn’t necessarily need to dig too deep with Tankard, obviously.)

The band’s zippy thrash template remains somewhere between the rushed, overtly technical forays of Destruction, and the punk-on-metal action of Bay Area. Therefore, such songs like the title track and “Breakfast for Champions” have ample jump and bounce in their step, almost lighter on its feet when stacked up against the gray-beards of the style. And there’s some legitimate hooks and twists and turns, like on the aforementioned title track, or “Riders of the Doom,” an excellent, anthem-like cut that produces more than a few festival lines from vocalist Gerre.

Lest we forget Tankard’s imitable frontman. Gerre (like on most of the band’s releases) turns in another hum-dinger of a performance, spewing tales (with vomit) of long nights boozing, and early mornings trying to recover from boozing. But really, the dude is one of the best singers in German thrash metal, subsequently giving Tankard an added measure of musical validity…as if they needed more.

Hard to mess with “Hope Can’t Die,” “No One Hit Wonder,” and “Clockwise to Deadline,” each of which have a certain degree of focused beer-goggle’d charm. So chalk R.I.B. as another winner in Tankard’s underrated career, which started slowly in the mid-80s, leveled off in the 90s, and has finally picked up steam in the 00s. One of Euro thrash’s real treasures.

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