Trappist – Ancient Brewing Tactics Review

If there are three things I enjoy, it’s good beer, good metal, and bad puns.

Ancient Brewing Tactics touches on all three. So let’s crack open a cold imperial IPA and see what we have here…

Release date: August 17, 2018. Label: Relapse.
The union of ex-Spazz-er Chris Dodge, Despise You’s Phil Vera, and So-Cal restaurateur Ryan Harkins, Trappist hews close to the punk-fueled powerviolence of its founders’ better-known bands. It’s Discharge-driven d-beats beneath crusty guitar chords, shouted vocals atop frantic speeding riffs, all delivered in mostly short bursts of sheer aggression. Occasional forays into longer tracks are mostly successful — although the Old School-quoting “Frank The Tank” drags a bit.

Musically, there are no surprises here — if you’re a fan of crusty grindy punky fury, then you’ve heard multiple takes on this style before, only now these drunken shouted bursts are about enjoying the culture of high quality craft beer instead of swilling cheap PBR. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s a notable one, and one Trappist confronts (mostly) head on in the swaggering swing of “No Corporate Beer”:

Hey! Wake up all you crusties, covered in filth and mud:
You claim to hate the big corporations, but then you go drink Bud.
If someone tries to hand me a Coors, I’m gonna have to pass.
If you pass me a Pabst Blue Ribbon, I’ll kick your hipster ass,

Don’t try to tell me that you’re so D.I.Y.
Don’t try to tell me your morals are so high.
If your favorite band was on a major label,
you’d be the first to ban them from your turntable.

If you really want to fight The Man,
destroy every bottle, keg and can.

Elsewhere, Trappist gives the middle finger to the German purity laws in “Giving The Boot To Reinheitsgebot,” rips through a burner tribute to the Sumerian goddess of beer with Municipal Waste’s Tony Foresta on guest vocals (“Hymn To Ninkasi”), and mocks frat-bro brewery tourists in “Wolves In The Taproom.” Tongue-in-beer-filled-cheek humor abounds in “Victims Of A Bomber Raid,” “This Means Wort,” “Proost-Op”… Of course, none of this is particularly serious — punk rock isn’t all politics and power, after all — and at the end of the day, Ancient Brewing Tactics is not a phenomenal album, but it’s a fun one, even without being musically adventurous. When it comes down to it, if you like beer and punk rock, you’ve likely done something just like this before, but here you are, back again, because there are far worse ways to occupy your time.

Also, if you’re looking for adventurous pairings — and you have access to a wide selection of craft brews — Ancient Brewing Tactics comes with a recommended beer to consume during every song. (As Dave Witte and Richard Christy learned recently, you have to act quickly to drink a beer to any of the “Waiting In Line” tracks.) Regrettably, I don’t have access to many of the brews on the recommendation list, but I’ll do my best to make quality substitutions, guys…

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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