Am I the only one that immediately gets a shit-eating grin on my face and a thirst for suds as soon as Germany's TANKARD comes up in conversation? I suspect not, as these thrashing sots are coming up on a quarter century of entertaining diehard fans with their comedic brand of vintage thrash. I mean take a look at that cover, read the album title, and peruse the song titles, and then try to tell me that you don't get the joke. When it comes to the music of TANKARD, it's a simple equation that worked 20 years ago and continues to work today: stripped down thrash guitars + shout-worthy choruses + beer-worshipping lyrics = TANKARD. "The Beauty and the Beer" is no different.
Those that have never been exposed to TANKARD (they've always been kind of hidden behind thrashing countrymen SODOM, DESTRUCTION, and KREATOR) may now wonder if all this talk of drunken rowdiness and thrash licks really adds up to solid thrash. It does. "The Beauty and the Beer" in no way, shape or form expands or even improves upon a thrash formula first developed in the '80s. And who is complaining? Songs like "Ice-olation", "We Still Drink the Old Ways", "The Beauty and the Beast" (featuring effective tempo changes), and the hilarious (and catchy) "Frankfurt: We Need More Beer" ride hot thrash riffs, usually quick galloping rhythms, and the biting shouts of lead guzzler Andreas Geremia. A live and loose, yet still tight, delivery guarantees that these songs will go over a storm live. Though TANKARD does not move outside of safe environs on "The Beauty and the Beer", there is just enough song variety to keep the album from getting bogged down in sameness. The guys coax a lot of energy out of each song and toss out some relatively clever lyrics to boot, even if the cheese of "Metaltometal" begins to push one away from a smile and towards a grimace.
So OK, there are better thrash albums out there (consider SODOM's latest), but that should take nothing away from "The Beauty and the Beer". If you can't have a good time blaring TANKARD's new one through the speakers, then you might consider not taking yourself quite so seriously. Thrash is good.