Tankard The Beauty and the Beer

It’s funny when you stop to realise that classic German thrashers Tankard are actually pretty good. Listen to this latest from them without looking at the artwork or song titles and suddenly it’s up there with Kreator, as far as straight-up raging thrash metal goes. Catchy and memorable, tons of killer guitar riffs and a solid drum performance help keep each song worth listening to here, even if the sound gets pretty monotonous soon enough. What’s really interesting to realise is that after crafting a career based on songs about drinking, a lot of these songs show some emotion — "Ice-Olation” isn’t a fun drinking song at all, and the title track doesn’t seem to mention beer, but rather the singer admits to the concept of the beauty and the beast controlling his life. There are still stupid tunes like "Metaltometal” ("…and guts to guts!”), of course. Maybe I’m reading too much into it and just hoping with all my might that these guys aren’t complete buffoons after all. Either way, a totally solid and respectable thrash album from a band destined and doomed to be underdogs forever. (AFM)