It is not like TANKARD has ever been considered German thrash metal royalty like KREATOR, SODOM, and DESTRUCTION, but they've usually released albums of solid thrash that offered a lot of beer soaked, head banging fun. As such, even critics would cut 'em some slack for not being the most inventive bunch because the tunes burned hot and the good times always came with 'em. And that's why it is no fun having to rip into new release "Vol(l)ume 14". All the lipstick in the world couldn't pretty up this pig.The tunes — for the most part — are nowhere near solid and the laughs are few and far between. Much of that has to do with some disappointedly tepid tunes, some of which seem to go on forever, making the whole experience that much worse. Even vocalist Gerre sounds like he's phoning it in. I mean the guy doesn't sound like he's having any fun at all. A song like "Fat Snatchers (The Hippo Effect)" includes some typically goofball lyrics that would otherwise be tons of fun, but the riffing and melody is so mundane that most could barely utter a chuckle. "Black Plague (BP)", "Somewhere in Nowhere", and "Brain Piercing of Death" are better than tolerable and at least approach vintage TANKARD. But TANKARD classics in the making they are not. It is embarrassingly weak songs like "Weekend Warriors" that kill the album; flat vocals, awful melody, and at 7:25 the agony is drawn out far longer than anyone should have to bear. The decision to include the lightly picked, somber intro on this one and "Time Warp" (a lukewarm opener) had to have been made in a near blackout state of drunkenness. There is just no other explanation for it. A near lifeless energy level and flat production that includes a horrendous kick drum sound serve as the final nails in the coffin. I kept hoping that return visits to "Vol(l)ume 14" would reveal the album to be a grower and I'd at least be able give it an average scare. Not even close. You'll wish for mediocre after you're done with "Vol(l)ume 14".
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