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Tankard - One Foot in the Grave

One Foot in the Grave
by JF "Thrashing Assault" Briard at 06 July 2017, 4:01 AM

German thrash metal legends TANKARD have matured a lot recently; their lyrics are more meaningful and engaged than ever! There is clearly much more thought put into them this time and curiously, their usual lyrical theme of alcohol is mostly absent and that might disappoint some fans… However, this is a welcome change I think, because it gives the band more 'credibility'. They have been accused or re-using too much the same beer lyrical theme over the years… and thus are being erroneously considered a frivolous band sometimes, especially compared to other thrash Teutonic legends.

"Pay to Pray" opens up the album in the usual TANKARD way, instrumentally speaking. The lyrics, however, are more serious, sadly explaining how most religions ally themselves with the richest more often than not. The chorus is quite ear-catching and a big highlight. "Arena of the True Lies" is the first song released with a lyrics video for promoting the album. It is my favorite track; it sticks in your head with well thought and almost philosophical lyrics, like claiming that social medias are shallow and are mind numbing us. The guitar solo work is also pretty note-worthy here. "Don't Bullshit Us" is angrier with more of an "in your face" attitude and a straightforward song structure while title-track "One Foot in the Grave" is about the band aging and how they deal with it… in style! Another stellar song and very catchy as a whole. "Syrian Nightmare" is the second song released as a lyrics video; it is one of the darker and more unnerving songs I'd say, talking about the current war raging on in Syria… which is a pretty taboo subject that very few bands have addressed so far.

"Northern Crown (Lament of the Undead King)" seems a bit more fantasy oriented and melodic sounding than usual while "Lock Em' Up" retorts back to more recognizable TANKARD guitar riffs and patterns. The lyrics here are about how way too many politicians and bankers are corrupted beyond redemption… and how they should be "locked up" in jail. I believe a lot of listeners will definitively agree with the message here. "The Evil that Men Display" displays a more "punkish" vibe in its sound and reminds me a lot of the band's early material. "Secret Order 1516" begins/ends slow and mellow with a curiously effective symphonic intro/outro. I'm not too sure about the exact meaning of the lyrics yet; my guess so far would be some kind of conspiracy theory. Overall, this one feels epic in scope and in my opinion, it should have been the last song… because "Sole Grinder" is by far the least interesting track here. I really fail to find any interesting features to discuss about it, unfortunately.

As I already said, my only major complaint would be how the end song was a tad anticlimactic. Still, I firmly believe this is a must-have 2017 album to any fans of thrash metal. Aging in a band is not necessarily such a bad thing after all… and TANKARD are showing us why here in a grand, thrash fashion!

Production: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Pay to Pray
2. Arena of the True Lies
3. Don't Bullshit Us
4. One Foot in the Grave
5. Syrian Nightmare
6. Northern Crown (Lament of the Undead King)
7. Lock Em' Up
8. The Evil that Men Display
9. Secret Order 1516
10. Sole Grinder
Gerre - Vocals
Frank - Bass
Olaf - Drums
Andy - Guitar
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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Edited 04 February 2023

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