A Girl Called Cerveza
posted on 7/2012 By:
The Kings Of Beer Metal belly up to the bar for another round… And like you’d imagine, it pretty much ends up like the last few, but that's hardly a bad thing. We get some moments of thrashing quality, drunken and goofy, and some moments of buffoonery, drunken and goofy… I mean: It’s Tankard. What did you expect?
In their thirty years of existence, Tankard has always stood just outside the spotlight of German thrash. They’ve never garnered the praise of countrymen Kreator, Sodom, or Destruction, and honestly, arguably a certain part of that is because they’ve always displayed a ridiculous and often out-and-out corny sense of humor that those acts mostly lacked. In that regard, they’re the Anthrax to the other three’s other three of the Big Four. But like Anthrax, they’re dependable, even if they’re often hard to take seriously, and as a result, they're not always viewed as equally vital…
Nevertheless, no matter what the world may think, Tankard parties on, and A Girl Called Cerveza is album number fifteen for these hard-drinking Deutschers, and it’s business… err… drunken pleasure as usual. Musically, Cerveza is mostly straightforward thrash, though on the lighter side of that spectrum. Tankard is less feral than their more esteemed countrymen, less aggressive, more crossover-tinged at times, with dashes of melodic almost trad-metal guitar work. Most importantly, like its immediate predessors in the band's discography, A Girl Called Cerveza is about half solid from top to bottom, with a few great tunes, some decent ones, and, in true modern Tankard fashion, a few duds scattered throughout. Songs like the raging “Rapid Fire” or the self-referential “Not One Day Dead” succeed wholly, but there are always those goofus Tankard tracks like the food-punning “Son Of A Fridge” to remind you that these guys are often just over the hump, on the far side of half-drunk and not always as funny as they think they are.
Most of those failures come in the sometimes groan-inducing lyrics and themes. Whereas “Not One Day Dead” tells the tale of Tankard in these thirty years, declaring their obvious love for their craft and their unwillingness to die, even in the face of hard times and lousy gigs, the title track details a tale of tracking down a girl (called, if you can believe it, "Cerveza" – she must be Spanish) who tricks the protagonist out of all his beer. Now, I certainly can’t argue that a girl with the same name hasn’t tricked me out of plenty in the past, but like many Tankard booze-tunes, this one treads upon the gimmicky side of the band's schtick, the requisite beer song from a band who has to have at least one on every record. Most uncomfortable, the album’s literal centerpiece is Gerre’s duet with Doro Pesch, the awkward “The Metal Lady Boy,” which is both not a terribly good song and... well... about Doro as a ladyboy picking up the main character in a bar. "You set my heart on fire / male body, female soul." I"m open-minded and all, so to each his own, but... I mean... wait... sure... okay...
Musically, Tankard c. 2012 is professional – by now, they've got this down, so at least, this one sounds good, is performed well, even if (though) it's not always inspired and sometimes painful. Still, production and technique is not the deciding factor on a post-2000 Tankard record. This one comes down to songs, and for every winner on Cerveza, there's a track that falls on the bland and unmemorable side, a fun-while-listening tune that is quickly forgotten (“Master Of Farces,” “Witchhunt 2.0”). Therein lies the stumble: Cerveza is fun while you're taking it in, but the memory of it is often murky and fades quickly, except for the bad times, which remain clear.
By now, three decades in, Tankard has settled into an alcohol-fueled groove. A few trips and falls aren't outside the nightly norm. Those fans who’ve partied along for this long will appreciate Cerveza, blunders and all, even if (and especially because) it’s not anything different from the band’s last few benders. Tankard does what Tankard does, and this is that. It’s not their best, by a long shot, but it’s no total failure. It's a good night out, and nothing more.
And these days, that’s what you’d expect from a Tankard record. It's not a quite a high-end lager, but it's certainly not an American water-beer. So if that's your thing, drink up and enjoy.
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