"Fat, Ugly and Still (A)live"

(Locomotive Music/AFM)

For more information, visit Amazon.com.

RATING: 7.5/10

This is one big, beer-swilling thrash party of a DVD; it is as simple as that. Long-time German thrashers TANKARD never tried to be anything more than a group of fun-loving booze hounds that happen to play some pretty darn catchy thrash metal. Let's get the basics out of the way first. This two-disc set includes a marathon live performance and videos for "The Morning After", "Space Beer", "Minds on the Moon", and the hilarious "Tanze Samba mit mir". Also included is the obligatory photo gallery and what seems to be a comprehensive interview spoken entirely in German without subtitles, the latter the main reason this one didn't get an 8 rating; sorry, but all TANKARD fans don't speak German. Disc 2 is a collection of on-the-road antics and live performance clips from countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain, France, and Turkey, all of which feature the members hamming it up with adoring fans, beers in hand and shit-eating grins etched across faces. Virtually all of it is home video fare, but fun nonetheless.

Now to the really good stuff. The centerpiece of Disc 1 is a lengthy 24-song set played to a shit-faced and sweaty German audience (which would basically describe the band members as well). I've seen more concerts on DVD than I care to remember, some of which turn out to be little more than endurance tests. TANKARD's set on the other hand is one hell of a thrashing good time. Each song of the career-spanning set sounds fantastic. Crowd participation was off the scale, as songs like "Space Beer" and the classic "Chemical Invasion" turned unbridled enthusiasm into outright insanity. As cliché as it sounds to say that the DVD makes you feel as though you're actually at the show, it is basically true in this case. Professionally shot, yet not overdone, the all-around vibe is energetic and filled with old school metal pride.

And we've not even talked about the beer swilling and proudly rotund front man Andreas Geremia. This is one guy who absolutely does not give a fuck. Belly bouncing and ass-crack exposed (an image I'm still trying to shake), Geremia is one with the crowd, inviting many a fan to share vocal duties and always getting the most out of the rabid audience. Watching his stage dives into a terrified crowd and seeing him sink like an anvil thrown into a pond is priceless. The band is in top form too, somehow remaining tight amidst the chaos, and always head banging with abandon.

It is a damn shame that TANKARD never got the recognition afforded to some of their peers. This is a group that thrash fans should know about and "Fat, Ugly, and Still (A)live" is an excellent introduction to the band's raucous party thrash. This much fun should be illegal.


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