I like beer.
I like metal.
Ergo, I like Tankard.
The self-proclaimed "kings of beer" and the oft-overlooked cousin of the Big 3 of German thrash (Sodom, Kreator, and Destruction, of course), Tankard is still going strong after nearly three decades despite never quite seeming to get their due. Thirst is the band's thirteenth full-length, and like all the others I’ve heard, it's straight-and-simple thrash, tongue-in-cheek and beer-in-belly, fast and loud and often goofy. Often, there’s a crossover-thrash feel to these riffs, punkish and stripped down, alternating between pure speed and a few more melodic turns. For the most part, Thirst isn't terribly technical; Tankard never really has been. The subject matter alternates between the childish and the topical / mature (perhaps especially mature, by Tankard standards)--album opener "Octane Warriors" tackles war-for-oil and "G.A.L.O.W" ("Gods And Legends Of War") details historical warriors, and then "Myevilfart" deals with...well...farting. Make of the band’s juvenile side what you will—it’s more or less a band trademark, and now, twenty-five-plus years into their career, no one expects lyrical genius from Tankard.
What one does expect from Tankard is pretty much exactly what they deliver on Thirst—Teutonic thrash metal in its most basic form. As is their custom, Tankard delivers it well…for the most part. Thirst is three-quarters solid, but there are some tracks that don’t quite excite ("Hyperthermia," "Myevilfart"). The only musical surprise is the appearance of a choir on "When Daddy Comes To Play," which deals lyrically with the Josef Fritzl incest case. Beyond that, Thirst is business as usual for these German fellows, which brings us to this:
Thirst is a Tankard record—certainly enjoyable, certainly respectable, and nothing outside the band’s established norm. Dedicated and knowledgeable thrashers can (and should and hopefully will) rejoice that one of the more dependably direct acts of the style continues to soldier on with expectedly remarkable results, and the remainder of the world will probably continue being tragically unaware of Tankard’s existence.
But you’re not unaware of Tankard’s existence, even if you were when you started reading this, so raise a frosty mug and crank up the thrash. Beer is great; metal is great; and Tankard is always here to remind you of that.