I am fairly sure these alcoholic Frankfurters need little introduction. If my counting is correct ‘R.I.B.’ is their 16th full length studio album, so the chances of you having met them some stage are fairly high unless you’ve been even drunker than they have!

The first thing that hits you about this album is the incredible sound. I regularly bemoan the fact that modern thrash albums sound too beefed up – too chunky and steroidal. No such problem here. In fact the instruments are all so evenly matched that the balance is perfect – drums and bass driving things along and a killer sound to the uber-tight strumming and guitar-work. The big shock if you haven’t heard Tankard for a while is how professional they sound, both in terms of production and in terms of playing. So it is true! Beer does make you a better musician…

‘R.I.B.’ is a strange mix. It is obvious that it is the product of a vastly experienced act but this has good and not so good repercussions. On the one hand we have writers who have enough tricks up their sleeves to craft classics of melodic thrash such as ‘Hope Can’t Die’. On the other hand, we sometimes feel the band is ploughing the same furrow they’ve been gouging out for the last 30(!) years. The result is a slightly hit and miss effort. When it is good, Tankard are producing better thrash than just about anyone currently active in the field. When it is bad, things aren’t so terrible at all, but the quality dip makes you disengage slightly. Because Tankard are writing such catchy songs, when they don’t get it exactly right, it can sound a little too obvious. Add to this the fact that some of the material harks backs very closely to ground already covered by the band. Again, a good thing at times, but equally, a dangerous move if not handled properly.

Having said all that, this is my fave thrasher of the year so far. Now I’m off to stock the fridge with some quality brews.