The year was 2009, when I woke up early in the morning, and the first thing that flashed in front of my eyes was news of Accept’s reunion. That’s right;“Let’s make the ‘Metal Heart’ beat again” were the words that made me realize that these guys are on fire even after so many decades, and I was definitely expecting chaos. Under new label management (Nuclear Blast), Accept exploded onto their new journey with all guns blazing. Armed to the teeth with new vocalist Mark Tornillo, a heavier musical tone, and a return to their older, darker themes, Acceptunleashed upon the unready mortal masses their twelfth studio album: Blood Of The Nations. It was one of the best heavy metal albums of the past decade, simply put.
After releasing their critically acclaimed follow-up album Stanlingrad, and after a highly successful world tour, they are back in action with a new album Blind Rage; the third with Tornillo behind the mic. Do they ever stop? Hell No!Blind Rage is yet another notch in these Germans’ bullet-belts, pulverizing to dust any lingering doubts that the loss of Udo Dirkschneider would doom the band. Surfacing after a great effort in Stalingrad, the pressure was on for Wolf Hoffman and team to deliver the goods, and they deliver it flawlessly. The true gem here is without a doubt the first track “Stampede”. It starts with a patented Accept riff, and then advances at an efficient speed until the chorus, which detonates in an anthemic fashion as Tornillo and gang memorably roar “Stampede! Trampled to the ground. Stampede! Flattened by the sound…”
This style of chorus would later be adopted by the band in a more widespread fashion, which should speak volumes about the potency of this approach. “Dying Breed” is a tribute to the legends that started their musical journey before Accept. The chorus on this track is infectious, with Tornillo and the gang roaring “We salute you.” This is followed by tracks like “Dark Side of My Heart”, “Trail of Tears”, “Fall of the Empire” and “Wanna Be Free” where Mark Tornillo utilizes his rough, distinctly usual aggression as well as a more toned-down version to go well with the album’s feel.
The duo of bassist Peter Baltes and guitarist Wolf Hoffman are impeccable on this record, throwing out some groovy bass-lines and killer riffs respectively. Kudos to Hoffman for continuing the trend of long solos on most of the tracks. I found this approach very interesting on Blood Of The Nations and it’s really cool to see how things like these take the songwriting to just another level. On the other side, guitarist Herman Frank adds his amazing rhythm lines to the songs and gets more than a fair share of moments to show off his solid skills. Longtime drummer Stefan Schwarzmann is quite a treat; his skin-thumping is hard, precise, and often pretty vicious. If there is one major gripe I have with Blind Rage, it’s with tracks like “Bloodbath Mastermind”, “200 years” and “The Curse” that interrupt the flow of the album and don’t really go anywhere. Other than these, the album is perfectly executed with songs that will remain with you forever.
The final result presents itself as a whole structure and not as a bunch of single entities. The songs themselves are memorable and impressive, but the conceptual line and overall impression is particularly outstanding on this record meriting its courageous title. The album unites everything Accept stood and still stand for. That’s why this offering deserves a very special place in the band’s long discography, and can be listed as one of their highlights. This record will surely grow on you.
Even after releasing two fantastic albums post-reunion, it’s disappointing to see some fans having fixed opinion on a legendary band like Accept. I always come across people who have that “I know how they sound like”look on their face whenever I talk about Accept. Accept is a very creative heavy metal band. Many times, (actually, most of the time) – heavy metal bands become very clichéd, and their music tends to get very old. Not Accept; they like to keep things alive. Everything from the chunky, harmonics-infested guitars, to the vocals that sound as if someone had drank a cup of acid; everything sounds great, heavy, anthemic, chaotic – and original. Not many metal bands can do that. Blind Rage is about as good as heavy metal gets in my eyes. You can really tell that Accept is a band that cares about every little detail, because there is hardly any filler material. Blind Rage stands tall along with their aforementioned Tornillo era albums.