Tankard – “Hymns For The Drunk” (AFM Records)
Although regarded as one of the big 4 of Teutonic Thrash, Germany’s Tankard are probably one of the most unlikely candidates especially when considering their more fearsome peers in Sodom, Kreator and Destruction! Formed at school when the lads used to smuggle their beer in milk cartons (!), not to mention their name unmistakably taken from the english translation for a beer mug, Tankard have stuck true to their roots for the last 35 years in playing catchy thrash songs almost singularly dedicated to their one true love: booze! Often overlooked in their past and even passed over by labels in view of their humor and perceived lack of musical proficiency, Tankard not only shocked the world with award winning albums like “Zombie Attack” but soon garnered an underground following that has only built steadily over the years as the band’s happy go lifestyle in direct contradiction to some in the thrash scene as well as wider German society has only grown due to popular demand! Today, Tankard are a legendary name and headliners who’ve played every open air festival worthy of their en masse gratification through energetic crowd rousing performances employing ceaseless singalongs. And it’s easy to see why: fast n melodic songs mixing thrash n punk often belying their ultra catchy nature crafted through the experience gained from literally hundreds of live shows. Still with school buddies Andreas ‘Gerre” Geremia on vocals and bassist Frank Thorwarth, the band have also branched out into more socially conscious topics as they’ve matured, though thankfully they haven’t lost their sense of humor. This 15 track compilation is a hand picked best from the band and I couldn’t recommend it more given the excellent arrangements and the sheer instant euphoria it elicits from the ultra catchy likes of ‘Rectifier’ to ‘Die With A Beer In Your Hand’ and ‘We Still Drink The Old Ways’! Taken from their AFM releases from 2002 – 2010, this compilation also serves as a tribute and thank you to AFM Records boss and Squealer singer Andreas ‘Henner’ Allendörfer, who tragically passed away in a car accident in 2005, and is stated by Tankard as giving the band a second lease of life from which they went onto bigger things and thus reflective of this important period in their history. “Hymns For The Drunk” is a testimony to the last of Germany’s original thrashers who are still soldiering on and to whom I toast a ‘Zum Wohl’!