German heavy metal legends Accept forged a triumphant reincarnation with their 12th studio album ‘Blood Of The Nations’ in 2010, debuting Mark Tornillo as the new vocalist. The overwhelming and unarguable success of that album was followed by the stellar 2012 release ‘Stalingrad’ which went on to prove that the band’s return wasn’t a mere one-off, and now, keeping up with the consistency in turnaround, Accept are ready to unveil their 14th studio effort ‘Blind Rage’, the third chapter of the Mark Tornillo-fronted era and a set of tunes through which the band stamps their authority on the heavy metal universe with a force greater than ever before.
With upbeat rhythms, catchy guitar work and fierce soaring vocals, ‘Stampede’ provides a lively start to the album and sets high standards right from the get-go. The mid-tempo gallop and the anthemic vocal chorus Accept have been so greatly known and loved for over the years is very much evident on the next track ‘Dying Breed’ which comes across as a memorable song in every aspect on first listen itself, and only makes the listener’s fondness towards it grow stronger with every subsequent listen. ‘Dark Side Of My Heart’ maintains the impetus albeit in its own different manner with a slightly darker and more melodic vibe, as its title would correctly suggest. The album moves from strength to strength through fantastic compositions such as the laid back and epic-sounding ‘Fall Of The Empire’ and the contrastingly breakneck ‘Trail Of Tears’ and altogether the aforementioned five tunes constitute as strong of a first half as anyone could have expected from Accept, including the band itself.
‘Wanna Be Free’ slows things down, allows the five musicians to breathe their respective instruments into the song, and raises the melody levels once again to make for a great centerpiece for this 58-minute set of tunes. Even the latter half of the album simply has no filler whatsoever, with fast-paced anthemic tunes ’200 Years’ and ‘Bloodbath Mastermind’, the progressive, guitar-oriented and tempo-shifting ‘From The Ashes We Rise’, the album’s longest and perhaps musically finest tune ‘The Curse’, and the closing song ‘Final Journey’, ending Blind Rage with the same all-out intensity with which it began.
As compared to ‘Blood Of The Nations’ and ‘Stalingrad’ which could be categorized as members of the same ‘trilogy’, ‘Blind Rage’ certainly sees Accept progress positively as creative musicians, led by the songwriting prowess of guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and bassist Peter Baltes. The guitar work on this album is absolutely exemplary and the is the single standout feature that wasn’t quite as evident on past Accept albums. Vocalist Mark Tornillo’s voice is an aspect Accept fans would definitely be used to by now, and he sounds more comfortable and expressive in his role. Second guitarist Herman Frank harmonizes and trades off with Wolf Hoffmann to great effect, and drummer Stefan Schwarzmann ably handles the most crucial foundation for any good-sounding album. Andy Sneap is once again at the helm as producer to bring the best out of the Accept sound. The combined efforts of these gentlemen has given us an album that can be deemed as the best the year of 2014 has seen so far.
Musically and lyrically, the entirety of Accept’s latest effort is instantly enjoyable to a traditional heavy metal fan, and to say that ‘Blind Rage’ is heavy metal perfection would not be an exaggeration or overstatement even in the slightest.
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