AFM Records – 2010 – Germany
Tankard. Silly booze thrash that has persisted for ages. As the title suggests, this “Vol(l)ume 14” is their fourteenth album. In the spirit of all the other releases that preceded it, sillyness and downright asinine songwriting is writ large throughout the album. While such an approach to the often deadpan and deadly art form that’s thrash metal, Tankard are in poor shape on this album. It’s not really the songs themselves but the music; the riffs are diluted and boring, the performances are mechanical, the rage isn’t infectious. The Kraut quartet are grinding out the same sausage, with nary a thought as to whether metalheads will bother liking them.
“Vol(l)ume 14” begins with a lot of promise though. “Time Warp” is a massive opener packing a lot of delicious ingredients. The problems start with “Rules for Fools” whose accompanying video clip is as dull as the song itself. Sure, Tankard are celebrating the virtues of nonconformity and free thinking, but the passion isn’t there and Andreas’ half hearted attempts at being funny falls flat. Boo hoo. This review was meant to be as lively as the band who is its subject, but “Vol(l)ume 14” is difficult to love. So difficult in fact, it drove this writer to immerse himself in Sly & Robbie, who are a prolific reggae duo who’ve been releasing albums since the 70s.
Digressions aside, “Vol(l)ume 14” does have its fair share of tasty morsels. One of the best is “Fat Snatchers (The Hippo Effect)” which is about a chubby kid shedding those pounds. In it Andreas describes in wonderful verse the perennial penile problem afflicting fat kids—not being ale to see their penis through all the fat. By the middle of the album Tankard fall back on thrash anthems that celebrate the metal lifestyle. “Beck’s In the City,” “Brain Piercing of Death,” and “Weekend Warriors” are quite good. Forgiving the sub par musicianship that hardly inspires the listener’s enthusiasm, Tankard still haven’t lost their ability to spin little stories about headbangers.
Unfortunately it isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. “Vol(l)ume 14” is a flawed released. Tankard need motivation, inspiration, and a serious kick in the arse—three things that are missing on this album. Beer metal? Fuck no. If a soundtrack to alcoholic indulgence is what you’re looking for, head over to Amon Amarth or Turisas. It’s dumb fun over-the-top shit too, but with more passion.