Review Summary: Tankard deliver pure, predictable, but powerful and menacing thrash with great riffs on their best album from the new millennium.
Tankard experienced the 90s slump worse than most of the 80s thrash groups, hitting an all time low with Disco Destroyer, a release so bad perhaps even Destruction would have been ashamed of it if they released it at that point. It was altogether a pretty grim time for thrash metal bands in general, with the groove influences seeping into most 90s thrash bands (Testament, Slayer, Demolition Hammer) usually resulting in embarrassment rather than either sales or positive press. Tankard managed a path of slow recovery through the 2000s, with King Of Beer in 2000 proving dull but at least a step up, and B-Day in 2002 was relatively decent. Beast of Bourbon caps their trend of improvement, and despite a lack of variety of tempos, is definitely a riff juggernaut and one of the best albums from the old school thrash crowd post-1994.
Despite its relative simplicity, Beast Of Bourbon makes up for its lack of any new ideas by having great, menacing riffs. Every single song feels tense and absolutely focused, so a lack of anything other than the usual "Simple Innuendo" and "Beer" lyrical content really doesn't matter too much. The album also benefits from an excellent mix that gives both the guitars enough space and doesn't overemphasize the relatively unimportant vocals.
All things said and done, despite the immense consistency of this album (every song is extremely solid at the minimum), highlights are dotted about. The Horde
, Genetic Overkill
, Die with a Beer in Your Hand
and Beyond The Pubyard
are the immediate standouts, with the former being the best track thanks to its great progressions and well restrained use of the vocals in the chorus. The complication with the overall strength of all the tracks is that they largely seem pretty samey, with pretty much the same structure and songwriting style; this tends to harm the album towards the latter end of its runtime; that said, taken as individual tracks it's solid as rock.
Sadly following this album Tankard fell back into relative mediocrity; The Beauty and the Beer was a pretty decent album but all the subsequent material is largely worth ignoring. Tankard nevertheless managed to hit a reasonable high point late in their career with this record, and it holds up well next to the other good thrash revival albums.