Onkel Tom – “Bier Ernst” 2CD (Steamhammer / SPV)
Better known as the alter ego of Sodom’s legendary front man Tom Angelripper, Onkel Tom is, needless to say well known throughout Germany and a long established name on the summer festival circuit where their brand of singing traditional German bier keller and football terrace songs has long gone down a treat to many a crowd! “Bier Ernst” is the band’s 7th album actually split into two sections, “Bier” which is pretty self explanatory for the first 12 songs, and “Erst”, the remaining 9 tracks of which are less jovial, although full of passion even if they are dealing with darker subject matter along with added technicality. Throughout both aspects though, there’s a strong air of defiance and resistance that goes back to Tom’s beginnings in the 80s and reflected in the final closing cover of Extrabreit’s classic ‘Polizisten’ (Policemen). Between the 2 sections totalling 21 songs, let’s just say you’re in for a full on Onkel Tom experience in this ambitious release! With the accordions in full flow and drunker bar chorus on ‘Flasche Zu Flasche’, the contrast couldn’t be greater on the faster punk pop of ‘Was sind wir Männer doch für’n lustiger Verein’ with its raucous bier keller singing. ‘Trunkenbold’ takes this even further as a knees up number completed by pumping double bass drumming and rock n roll guitar while Tom’s rhyming German vocals add the final touch. Going into full bar core (a la Dropkick Murphys) on the fast n catchy singalong of ‘Bier Bier Bier’, complete with church bells (!), there’s clearly plenty to revel on this first part of the album, while appreciating that the band have also put in some serious composing time clearly with the message of having a (damn) good time, while still being able to hold down your beer. This becomes clear in the 2nd half where the chopping thrash of ‘Ich finde nur Metal geil’ (I’m only into metal) with its ripping riffs and beats leads to an anthemic singalong chorus while ‘Von Arschlöchern Für Arschlöcher’ (From Assholes For Assholes) is a somber darkwave track with deep bass lines and new romantik melodies! Hammering in the metal on ‘Auf Dünnem Eis’ (On Thin Ice) with monster Sepultura grooves contrasting with a more mellower modern metal chorus, “Bier Ernst” goes a long way into proving that Onkel Tom is no one trick pony, and moreover, are more than serious song writers. And that friends, is definitely something to raise a glass to for a hearty prost!