Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tankard - The Morning After


These guys are the kings of alcohol-induced thrash metal. Tankard has been banging heads and breaking bottles since the mid-1980s. I don’t know why it is, but I seem to be “out of the loop” when it comes to the less-popular but still legendary classic thrash metal bands. Tankard is the latest addition to my thrash metal collection and goddamnit they hold a fucking solid spot that will never go away. I’ve listened to almost their entire discography very thoroughly and so far, this record has been the most enjoyable listen. To help tame my excitement for their upcoming release under the legendary Nuclear Blast Records, I’m going to write a review on my personal favorite Tankard album. For those of you that haven’t heard Tankard and are into the classic thrash metal sound, this record is what you want.

Tankard was one of the more underground thrash metal bands during the 80s and 90s, only being known amongst the metalhead community. I’ve heard mixed views on Tankard. Some, like myself, say that they’re a motherfucking blast to listen to, but others just refer to Tankard as “just another thrash band”, nothing more. Personally, I don’t think Tankard has been around for almost 30 years to be considered “just another thrash metal band”. And to be honest, ever since this album came out, they’ve been at the top of their game. But if that is so, then why are they still going unheard? Why haven’t I heard of these German fuckers? Well, thanks to Nuclear Blast, I now know who they are and understand completely why the label chose them to be on their roster.

Well, these guys are thrash metal, but what kind? You’ve got the slower thrash metal like Sepultura, the undeniably fast thrash like Slayer and Destruction, the more experimental, yet HEAVY thrash metal like Overkill and Havok, and the more melodic thrash brought to you by Artillery. What would I consider Tankard? Well, there’s an obvious amount of hardcore punk (The Exploited, Black Flag, etc.) influence in their music; primarily in the drums. The guitars play really fast, that when played along with the hardcore punk-style drums, has the capability of moving the pit to deadly levels.

The vocals are extremely harsh and remind me of Sodom’s earlier records where there was even some screaming involved. Either that or the vocalist was just drunk as a cockroach in a pool of beer as always. What people say about Tankard is true, these guys are heavy drinkers and enjoy it very much. Lucky them, they’re not angry drunks, they’re METAL drunks (yes, I know that was a bad joke). The style that the bassist plays runs back to the early roots of hardcore punk and crust (Black Flag, Napalm Death, Condemned?, etc.), which adds on a thicker punk layer to the drums. The guitar distortion is cheap and VERY crunchy. So this is going to be a huge enjoyment for people who love really under produced and “underground” sounding thrash metal…sort of like Motorhead, except more metal.

The biggest and best trait that the hardcore punk influence gives this album is its catchiness. The utter groove and catchiness is one similar to Exodus and Testament (more so Exodus). In fact, there’s even a PUNK song on this very album! What do you hear when you listen to the sixth track, Try Again? Well, I don’t know about you, but I hear good ol’ 1980s punk rock. That’s it, this is thrash for the punk rocker, which is probably why the members are always wearing Exploited shirts. Alright, here’s something about the guitarists: they get the job done, but they do the bare minimum. They don’t do anything special or over-the-top. Probably the most interesting thing that they do is a couple of shredding solos here and there. But the guitarists don’t really show much skill beyond the skills needed to play thrash metal.

Overall, this is a fantastic and fucking FUN thrash metal album to listen to. Giving this one 17/20, The Morning After has proved to be a thrash metal classic in its own sense by fusing punk rock and thrash metal better than Exodus did in the 1980s. I would highly recommend that you pick up a copy of this shit because we don’t know how much longer this band will stick around.