Tankard – ‘One Foot in the Grave’ – Album Review
Tankard have been around since 1982, and two members still thrash from that era today. Still, it’s a fine return from vocalist Gerre and bassist Frank. The other thing that impresses is that they have stayed together all that time as a band and haven’t split, returned and split and returned, like some of the bands from that era. Another thing still that impresses is that this is their 17th album. It is a fine, head-down Thrash Metal album. It turns the head when you understand that after all this time the band still hold down full time jobs outside of Metal, although that could be one of those urban legends fans love to believe.
The band’s place in Metal history is one of – well, that is up for a serious argument. If you consider the big four of Thrash, they aren’t in there, the next big four, perhaps not, and maybe not even the next four. But where people seem to put them would be in the Teutonic German Thrash bracket with fellow countrymen Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction. It could even be argued they are fourth in that list. All that being said, it’s clear that Tankard are still one of the great bands you can trust in Metal, even if your neighbour doesn’t know them, along with the neighbour of your neighbour.
The band have their origins in beer and good times themes, but have dipped their toes in other themes less comedic and dumb, if you pardon the expression. But here on the aptly named yet tongue in cheek One Foot in the Grave, it’s a more mature set of issues rounded up, and I don’t even believe I heard the word ‘beer’ once. Odd, but it isn’t a complaint, this is marvellous stuff.
Back to the said themes, we are looking for sure at lyrics that centre around mortality as in ‘One Foot in the Grave.’ We have politics in ‘Arena of True Lies’ and ‘Don’t Bullshit Us,’ and ‘Syrian Nightmare,’ which has a riff as murky as the theme covered. Religion even gets its ribs shattered with the storming opener ‘Pay to Pray.’ The album’s highlight is the superb ‘Secret Order 1516.’ If that song doesn’t leave a boot mark, size 20 no less, on your Metal soul, then you are lost to something other than metal, shame on you.
The themes are darker for sure and more serious, but it’s still a fast, riffy, catchy, good time album that is lean as a quid burger, at 44 minutes, more or less. All killer and no filler springs to mind in terms of its content and its ability to get the head banging contentedly.
The production here is first class also. It screams into one ear and screams out the other, and that is high praise. It knocks even the new Metallica album out of the water in that respect. Tankard are a band that seldom let their fans down, and if you are one then roll right up, if you love Thrash then roll right up. Good Metal is something we strive for day and night, and here it is, people, don’t fail yourself now.
- ‘Pay to Pray’
- ‘Arena of the True Lies’
- ‘Don’t Bullshit Us’
- ‘One Foot in the Grave’
- ‘Syrian Nightmare’
- ‘Northern Crown (Lament of the Undead King)’
- ‘Lock ‘Em Up’
- ‘The Evil That Men Display’
- ‘Secret Order 1516’
- ‘Sole Grinder’
@2017 Nuclear Blast Records