One has to give major kudos to TANKARD for sticking it out all these years. They’ll never quite occupy the same hallowed position in the German Thrash Metal pantheon as KREATOR, SODOM and DESTRUCTION, but they’ve persevered throughout the years, even though the honest truth is that they haven’t really produced anything truly remarkable since the early part of their career. Their last effort, 2008’s “Thirst”, was a decent little album and I pretty much expected more of the same from the band, nothing more, nothing less.
Unfortunately I got less, a LOT less... “Vol(l)ume 14” is easily one of the worst, most insipid TANKARD discs I’ve heard in many years. This is not due to any far-reaching experimentation or stylistic changes on the band’s part, but simply because of the uniform dullness of the riffs and the misfiring choruses. When these two aspects are lacking, especially on a Thrash album, the results are almost always of a sub-par quality. Thrash needs to be to-the-point, energetic, and catchy. This album is neither one of those things, and at almost 51 minutes it is just a massive bore to be quite honest.
Bizarrely enough the lyrics are actually the most entertaining aspect of the album, as the band explores various issues ranging from obesity (“Fat Snatchers”), the BP oil spill (“Black Plague”), to the merciless nine to five grind of the average workday (“Weekend Warriors”), all wrapped up with tongue firmly in cheek. It’s a shame then that the riffs are of such stock quality, with the one and only instance of some decent riffage appearing about halfway through “Brain Piercing Of Death”. The acoustic embellishments in “Time Warp” and “Weekend Warriors” are handled nicely, and “The Agency” isn’t too bad either but the rest of the tracks just whizz by without leaving any lasting impression (even after several listens). Andreas “Gerre” Geremia’s vocals are also quite grating throughout the album but this is mainly due to the underdeveloped chorus lines and not necessarily because of effort on his part.
I’m sorry but “Vol(l)ume 14” is just not a good album – a tad too slow, too long, and too bland. I was curious to hear what they would come up with on this effort but... ouch. I’m sure they’ll rebound soon enough but until then I’ll consign this one to the bottom shelf and wait for the new DESTRUCTION album to kick some ass.
(Online April 13, 2011)