Germany's self-proclaimed "Kings of Beer," Tankard, alongside Kreator, Destruction, and Sodom, are considered part of the upper echelon of the country's Teutonic thrash metal scene. Since debuting in 1986 with the boozy Zombie Attack, the band's signature blend of punk, thrash, and speed metal has remained unchanged, with only a few lineup changes to speak of. Striking a balance between humor and technical acumen, Tankard's blue-collar thrash has endured for over three decades, with highlights arriving via 1995's The Tankard, 2004's Beast of Bourbon, and 2017's One Foot in the Grave.
Originally founded in the city of Frankfurt circa 1982, the band initially considered names like Avenger and Vortex before looking through an English dictionary for a word that defined "beer mug" and finding Tankard. Thus, their future course was set, and after a few years of rehearsals under the tutelage of early thrash classics by Metallica, Slayer, and their own countrymen Kreator and Destruction, Tankard were ready to let loose. Signing with the Noise label (home to Helloween, Grave Digger, Celtic Frost, and others) in 1986, bandmembers Andreas "Gerre" Geremia (vocals), Andy Bulgaropulos (guitar), Axel Katzmann (guitar), Frank Thorwarth (bass), and Oliver Werner (drums) went on a recording tear that produced 1986's Zombie Attack, 1987's Chemical Invasion, 1988's The Morning After, 1989's Alien EP, 1990's The Meaning of Life, and 1991's Fat, Ugly and Still (A)live, barely changing their style or pausing for breath along the way.
New drummer Arnulf Tunn arrived for 1992's ironically named Stone Cold Sober LP, but not even Tankard could weather the grunge revolution unscathed, and the next few years brought quality albums with diminishing returns (1994's Two Faced, 1995's critically acclaimed The Tankard, 1998's Disco Destroyer), unstable lineups, and even mild deviations from form to introduce punkier elements. Thankfully, 2000's King of Beers set the Tankard ship to rights, and the retooled lineup of vocalist Geremia, bassist Thorwarth, plus new guitarist Andreas Gutjahr and drummer Olaf Zissel never looked back, keeping the solid thrash, good-natured ribbing, and quality beer flowing on 2004's Beast of Bourbon, 2006's The Beauty and the Beer, 2008's Thirst, and 2010's Vol(l)ume 14, all of which were released via AFM Records. The quartet moved to Nuclear Blast for 2012's Girl Called Cerveza, 2015's Rest in Beer, and 2017's One Foot in the Grave, and in 2018 they issued Hymns for the Drunk, which collected Tankard's best work from their AFM years.
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