Album review: TANKARD – R.I.B. (Rest In Beer)

Nuclear Blast – Out Now.

Looking at Tankard’s discography, one cannot fail but be impressed by the incredible consistency of this German outfit. Since their inception back in 1982, the German Weltmeisters of humour-driven Thrash Metal have been pretty much releasing a new album every other year with the aptly-titled “R.I.B. (Rest In Beer)” being the sixteenth addition to the band’s musical arsenal.

Having really enjoyed the band’s previous effort “A Girl Called Cerveza” I was looking forward to what Andreas “Gerre” Geremia and Co had in store for us on this brand new ten track album and it was not long before I found a number of reasons for rejoicing.

One knows a good sign when one sees one and, in this case it is the image of the mad Professor who, following a twenty seven year absence (see “Chemical Invasion” album – 1987) once again graces a Tankard album cover with his presence and raised my hopes for a special release.

These ten compositions ooze passion and energy and the massive-sounding crunchy riffs of Andreas Gutjahr have truly benefited from Michael Mainx’s sterling production. Then you have Gerre: one of the best front men in the business.

Working on various topics that range from the dead  serious to the absolutely ridiculous, the German maestro delivers one catchy melodic theme after another – the type of melodies that are devised to entice your active participation while attending your next Tankard show.

“War Cry” is an unbelievably aggressive song for Tankard’s standards, courtesy of Gerre’s harsh vocals, but is also filled with the type of lead guitar melodies that we have long associated with this band while “Fooled By Your Guts” comes across as a more typical old-school Thrasher in comparison.

The same-titled “R.I.B. (Rest In Beer)” starts as a slow tempo heavy riffed piece but soon evolves into a highly energetic musical offering, while “Riders Of The Doom” provides a more straight forward alternative theme.

It is at that very point that the listener is introduced to the album’s back-to-back highlights. “Hope Can’t Die” is a Punk-infused belter with an amazingly melodic solo, while “No One Hit Wonder” is a mid-tempo riff-based monster whose appeal lies in Gerre’s highly memorable vocal melodies.

More classic Heavy Metal in its approach, “Breakfast For Champions” is the proud owner of one of the silliest vocal lines of the album and “Enemy Of Order” is another straight-forward Thrash belter. While “Clockwise To Deadline” appears less impressive due to its simplicity “The Party Ain’t Over ‘Til We Say So” is the kind of anthem that ensures that Tankard’s sixteenth studio album bows out in style, offering the promise of greater things to come.

While a great number of their contemporaries have stopped creating music a long, long time ago, Tankard continue to offer their services to Metal with the passion and devotion that most young bands nowadays would kill to have.

Is it because of something that they put in the beer over in Germany or the result of an experiment-gone-right from the mad professor featured on the cover of this album?

No-one knows and nobody really cares, as long as the music that comes from of this band continues to be as honest and enjoyable as this!

John Stefanis

Rating: **** (4.0/5.0)

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