Blind Rage sees Accept continuing their march toward righteous, well-earned domination of the metal world. Metal Blast

Blind Rage sees Accept continuing their march toward righteous, well-earned domination of the metal world. Metal Blast

Metal Blast

When Accept dropped the earth-shattering Blood of the Nations back in 2010, I knew that it would be hard for them to achieve the same lofty musical heights on subsequent offerings. Sure enough, 2012′s Stalingrad, while certainly a solid album with its own merits, couldn’t quite reach the bar set by its predecessor. Upon the announcement that the band was poised to release a third album with Mark Tornillo at the helm, I knew it would be good, but I wasn’t convinced it would live up to even it’s closest sibling. Thankfully, while Blind Rage still doesn’t quite equal the now classic Blood of the Nations, it is a more complex, varied, and fulfilling album than its already great predecessor.

One thing you’ll notice on first listen is how emotive and melancholic several of the new songs are. Tracks like “Wanna Be Free”and “From the Ashes We Rise” recall the most emotional moments from Balls to the Wall, which really showcases Mark‘s more melodic approach. He’s in top-form here using every part of his range and sounding, finally, completely comfortable within the band.

While those more sombre songs are great in their own right, it’s the more aggressive tracks that rule the roost. A few of these songs will, no doubt, go down as some of the all-time classic Accept songs. My personal favourite comes in the form of “Dark Side of My Heart”, which starts with a butt-shaking Russian Roulette style riff before entering in to a more subtle, sparse structure for the verse. Wolf Hoffmann‘s solo here rolls like a tank through the listener’s brain, achieving a great balance between showmanship and service to the song. Another highlight is “Bloodbath Mastermind”, a violent song with a great backing vocal that I’m sure will sound amazing being hollered from a thousand throats.

Performance-wise, Stefan Schwarzmann is all over this album, pounding on his kit like he’s trying to make the earth move. His timing is beyond reproach and his sense of rhythm seems to have shifted slightly from the last two albums, setting Blind Rage apart in a small but important way.

My only real gripe with the album is on the production end, and it’s only because they’ve chosen to work withAndy Sneap once again. Andy is a great producer who has been a big part of lots of great records from the last decade. Unfortunately, many of these albums sound eerily similar to one another. Don’t get me wrong, the mix is spotless and rich, but there’s nothing that makes it unique. Sonically, Blind Rage fills the exact same space that Stalingrad did.

Blind Rage sees Accept continuing their march toward righteous, well-earned domination of the metal world. You can tell that the boys really put their all in to this project, and it has certainly paid off. It may not be the best album that this configuration of the band has brought into the world, but it’s damn close. Blind Rage is essential listening and will certainly be on a lot of lists at the end of the year.

Thank you Metal Blast!


ACCEPT – GERMAN WACK-EN ROLL by Bravewords

ACCEPT – GERMAN WACK-EN ROLL by Bravewords

By Mark Gromen

“Ahead Of The Pack, Never Look Back,” sang Mark Tornillo on one of the tracks off Restless & Wild, which was supposed to be aired in its entirety for Wacken 2014, half those tracks having long been staples of the live show anyway. The band would have preferred to adhere to those decades’ old lyrics and stormed through material from Blind Rage, due for release a fortnight later, but apart from the hard charging opener “Stampede”, this was more about the past than the future. Odd, when a gig in front of more than 75,000 is just a warm-up. Yet, two days later, they played to 10 times that amount, at the massive Woodstock festival, in Poland.

Bounding onstage, all smiles and with a bounce in their step that shames most bands half their age, Accept launched into the live, world premiere of the aforementioned newbie “Stampede”, signalling this ain’t a nostalgic act, even if a good portion of the night’s set (by Wacken organizers’ demand) recalled yesterday. The stage mimicked a similar orange to what adorns the current artwork. Peter Baltes seems to have sipped from the mythic Fountain Of Youth, the floppy head of curls prominently on display, yet no signs of aging: neither lines on the face, nor loss of energy onstage. “Stalingrad” followed, another hymn penned since Baltes and guitarist Wolf Hoffmann (looking fit & lean, showcasing some wicked leads and throwing in some windmills, for good measure, along the way) reunited and recruited Tornillo.

 

 

Philosophical musical statement declared, it was the initial foray into the 80s, with a purple lit “Losers & Winner”, as ski cap wearing Herman Frank briefly took the lead. The stage was a clean, futuristic steel construction, colored lights visible from behind the slats. The wall of speakers either side of drummer Stefan Schwarzmann saw the brand name of each guitar cabinet replaced by an Accept placard, featuring crossed guitars. “Monsterman”, although they played it last tour, was still a bit of a surprise. “London Leatherboys” begins with a jump step and sway as the bassist and Hoffmann lock into synchronized stage movements, ultimately with a foot up on the monitors, shaking their heads to the music. Bathed in blue and a blitzkrieg of strobes, The clickety-clack. runaway locomotive beat of “Breaker” sees the trio of stringed musicians front and center, Flying Vs held vertically as the Bassist headbangs madly.

 

 

Under white lights, at the front of the stage, Baltes bangs out the bass line to “Shadow Soldiers”, which Tornillo dedicated to “all the troops around the world who keep us free.” Speaking of the singer, his intro to “Restless & Wild” was the most I’ve heard him speak during an Accept show, this being my tenth (lost count) since the reformation. It began a string of five successive selections from that titular disc. Been ages since I heard “Ahead Of The Pack”, one of the concessions to the Wacken bosses, the stage turning a deep crimson, before a nitro-fueled “Flash Rocking Man” showed speed knows no age limits. Wow! Baltes still jumping off the drum riser ramps, before joining the guitar tandem center stage. The addition of Tornillo briefly makes it a quartet up front.

 

 

The purple of royalty shines down on Hoffman, who kicks into the signature riff of “Princess Of The Dawn”, as Baltes plays cheerleader, getting everyone to clap along. Although approaching midnight, the throng needs no coaxing to scream the title/chorus. If you think they sang loudly for that, the a cappella Tyrolean rhythm (hi de, hi do) which begins “Fast As A Shark” is practically deafening (if that’s possible, sans instruments/amplification). Tornillo conducts the sing-song melody as if a classical maestro, before punctuating with the opening scream. Although an hour into the event, like a bobble-head figurine powered by the Energizer Bunny, Baltes is still banging his head.

 

 

Restless & Wild obligation out of the way, it’s on to the records that followed, including another pair from the Tornillo era: “Pandemic” and “Teutonic Terror” (which began with Baltes standing alone,offstage on the runner/wing of the gigantic stage). They sandwich “Metal Heart”, the colorfully lit, but lone choice from the album of the same name, which saw the crowd sing along to the guitar melody, as well as the “Whoa Whoa” passages. The same happens with “Balls To The Wall”, which sees the singer and Frank swaying in unison. The song ends with another onstage lightning storm of strobes. Has anyone left yet? Although dark, the Jumbotron visuals indicate the grounds remain packed to the gills. Most North Americans would probably be shocked by the closing “Burning” (appropriately tinted in crimson lights), but it’s a sonic fury and whiz-bang finish that keeps people talking.

90 minutes and there’s STILL so much they DIDN’T play, new and old. Hopefully the Blind Rage tour will fill in some of the missing pieces!

Thank you Bravewords!


These Teutonic Terror men show no signs of burning out! – Dead Rhetoric

These Teutonic Terror men show no signs of burning out! – Dead Rhetoric

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You only get one chance to make a reunion impression, and the stakes are high in the case of Accept. 2010’s Blood of the Nations certainly put the current multi-continent act back on the map (three-fifths of the group currently spend most of their off time in the USA), and two years laterStalingrad solidified their headline status in traditional heavy metal. What can the troops rally around this third time w/Mark Tornillo at the microphone helm?

The greatest anthems in their catalog have always thrived on melody of some sort: be it the classical touches in the guitar (“Metal Heart”), twin harmonies (“Fast as a Shark”), or those thunderous mid-tempo riffs coupled with gang chant choruses made to scream in unison at the top of your burning lungs (“Balls to the Wall”). So it’s not surprising after a few playbacks that these 12 songs work off of that template, honing in a little deeper on the right hook/riff combinations that please traditional and classic power metal followers all over the world.

The first single/video “Stampede” has a slight up-tempo punch in the verses, Mark screaming his head off while the Hoffmann/Frank duo circle around their Flying V wagons in a thick steamroller of power chord/ tasteful lead break expertise. As the album unfolds, you’ll hear those unique Accept nuances, be it the simple note enhancement that signals the chorus of “Dark Side of My Heart,” or the mighty, epic riff that along with the background ‘ahh… ahhh-ahhh-ahhhhhh’ vocals makes the 5:58 “Fall of the Empire” resonate for those who love classics like “Princess of the Dawn,” Wolf again tearing up the emotive lead part through classic bluesy textures that recall 60’s/70’s axe mentors Hendrix and Blackmore.

When there are commercial aspects, they come in the form of Peter’s classic bass pumping for “Wanna Be Free” or the semi “Restless and Wild” guitar/drum gallop for “200 Years,” but this is Accept 100% through and through. Another stellar production job from Andy Sneap, as he has given the band the necessary ripe tones to appeal to both the old guard and the younger generation. And there’s no sense in debating Udo versus Mark vocally at this point, just enjoy the fact that both are healthy, continually productive in their golden age, and we can benefit from two acts churning out European style traditional metal to the masses. Another smile creeps across my face as at 3:27 of closer “Blind Journey” you’ll hear Wolf infuse another classical melody tribute effortlessly a la “Metal Heart,” understanding the parallels between the two styles.

Overall, Blind Rage gives you an hour’s worth of fervent head banging material, and given their recent Wacken performance this year, these Teutonic Terror men show no signs of burning out!

Thank you Dead Rhetoric!


Blind Rage is a serious candidate for going as one of the best metal albums of the year – My Revelations

Blind Rage is a serious candidate for going as one of the best metal albums of the year – My Revelations

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I admit that I Solingen steel forging have never touched so deeply in the past, as otherwise a large part of the local metal scene. Of course, “Restless And Wild” About one album and “Balls To The Wall” is not a no brainer, but generally I always found Accept a trail to ‘German’. When the band after all the trials and tribulations to their old charismatic singer Udo Dirkschneider after a long hiatus in 2010 with Mark Tornillo on the microphone and the album “Blood Of The Nations” drove back to light, I had the chance, with guitarist and Mastermind Wolf Hoffmann to talk about the new Accept. He said in part: “All signs point to storm!” How right he was. Any reservations about the new cast are already wiped with two strong albums from the table, with “Blind Rage” definitive proof now comes that today Accept authority and endure. Here there is everything that makes the group distinctive. Powerful metal anthems, endless Drive and Power, masterful guitar work, which repeatedly generates classically tinged melodies, the typical Woh-Hoh Hoh-choruses in the right place and with the vocals of Mark Tornillo finally convincing international paint. Also, the speculative as yet in “Stalingrad” has completely disappeared, leaving a classic, timeless masterpiece of heavy metal that will last for many years. Every damn song on this disc is a winner. It starts with the rapid entry “Stampede”, reaches with the supported “Fall Of The Empire” with his successful guitar solo in the style of Ritchie Blackmore its first peak, interspersed with “From The Ashes We Rise” a confident statement and finds with “Final Journey “a crashing end. Here skin Wolf Hoffmann Studies of Edvard Grieg with pure that it only seems like dizzy. Tip! And above all this hovers a striking atmosphere of kindness, friendship and sympathy. Nothing there with Wutbürger, as elsewhere hawked. We are talking a lot more about solidarity and preservation of true values. But above all, for a lot of tradition-metallic fun! Anyway. “Blind Rage” is a serious candidate for going as one of the best metal albums of the year across the finish line.

Thank you My Revelations!