Tankard - R.I.B. - (7/10)
Published on June 8, 2014
Drunk on thrash.
Tankard, while always sounding like Tankard, does have a strange knack for being relatively inconsistent with their sound overall. For every Beauty and the Beer they drop a Vo(l)ume 14 and too often it makes getting hyped for a new album from these German thrash mainstays a little difficult. For their latest record R.I.B. the drunken moshers continue with the direction that A Girl Called Cerveza pushed towards in the modern thrash fun, even if it’s not quite as effective.
Then again, it’s not like Tankard have ever been the kind of band that really changed someone’s mind about the genre. From their early career through R.I.B., they have stuck to their style religiously and if you never cared for Tankard then this sixteenth (!) album isn’t going to convert you into the denim vest toting lager-swigging fan that loves the band. If you are a person that already enjoys what they have to offer then this record is going to fit right in with your collection.
Like the inconsistency of quality in their career, R.I.B. is the kind of record that has some great high points and some odd low points. When Tankard are in full on riff mode then this album boils with great modern meets old school thrash energy. The opening “War Cry” has an overly serious tone to it with its super fast leads and Slayer-esque chorus, but it quickly careens into some classic Tankard sound on the first single “Fooled By Your Guts.” Here is where the band wraps their crunching guitars and speedy drums with their now patented tongue in cheek lyrics as Gerre snarls about a man who can brew beer in his belly. This is the style that truly showcases what Tankard do well and tracks like “Breakfast For Champions” or “The Party Ain’t Over ‘Til We Say So” make use of it brilliantly.
R.I.B. wavers though between those instant classics. The title track finds itself is over long and lacking oomph and “No One Hit Wonder” is too content in being mediocre with its writing to match the brilliance of its lyrical content. Even the melodic and more ambitious “Hope Can’t Die” takes far too long to reach the tasty thrash portions for it to compare to the highlights of the record. I appreciate that Tankard throws in a bit of diversity into the mix for R.I.B., but the flow just doesn’t equal the intent of what the band is attempting to accomplish and it leaves the record ebbing in quality.
So once again I’ll state the obvious disclaimer that should come with every Tankard album: if you’re not a Tankard fan initially, then this album will not change your mind. R.I.B. definitely has some great highlights for thrash fans, but as a full album it tends to waver too much in between the killer and the filler to be one of their best.