Germany's self-proclaimed "Kings of Beer," Tankard are one of the few thrash metal bands that never took themselves too seriously, pouring a lengthy discography down listeners' gullets over the years, filled with furious moshing and a barrel of laughs.
Originally founded in the city of Frankfurt circa 1982, they 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 like Kreator and Destruction, Tankard were ready to take their best shot. 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, emptying their mugs, or pausing for breath along the way. 1992 saw the arrival of new drinking buddy/drummer Arnulf Tunn for the ironically named Stone Cold Sober LP, but not even Tankard could weather the grunge revolution unscathed, and the next few years brought faltering releases (1994's Two Faced, 1995's The Tankard, 1998's, erm, Disco Destroyer), unstable lineups, and even deviations from form to introduce punkier elements. Thankfully, 2000's back-to-their-strengths 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, has kept the solid thrash, good humor, and better beer flowing steadily ever since, including albums like 2002's B-Day, 2004's Beast of Bourbon, 2006's The Beauty and the Beer, 2008's Thirst, and 2010's Vol(L)ume 14. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi