Teutonic metal pioneers Accept are enjoying their most fertile creative period since their late ‘80s heyday with original vocalist Udo Dirkschneider, and they’re reaping the rewards with corresponding popularity amongst the heavy rock and metal community.
Much of this is down to the shot in the arm relatively new vocalist Mark Tornillo has given the band – as he howls and yelps like the bastard son of Bon Scott and a pack of wild dogs, the rest of the band sound rejuvenated, excited to be having another shot at the prize with him centre stage.
As well they should do – tales of a second chance are few and far between, and usually trade heavily on past glories, whereas Accept have now released three new original albums since 2009, all of which are the equal of almost any in their history.
Blind Rage melds Wolf Hoffman’s classical-influenced lead guitar playing with the band’s highly influential heavy metal approach, not fixing anything that’s not broken, and consequently it’s a balltearer from start to finish.
Opener Stampede shows why they were considered one of the integral bands to influence the development of speed and thrash metal, while never letting go of the key melodic structures that keep them so popular. Fall Of The Empire is an icy tale of war that recalls their Russian Roulette period, 200 Years is a foreboding tale of apocalyptic doom and From The Ashes We Rise is a slower, almost bluesey number that starts with a definite AC/DC bent before becoming another archetypal Accept chantathon.
Accept no doubt realise their good fortunes, for without good fortunes I doubt they’d be having such a creative time now, heading towards the 40th anniversary of the band. Blind Rage closes with perhaps the most old school Accept number on show: Final Journey. Close your eyes tightly and you can almost hear echoes of Dirkschneider in Tornillo’s delivery, but even the most die hard fan of the former singer’s tenure in the band must realise that Tornillo is the best man for the job nowadays. Let’s hope this rude form continues – Accept are far too vital again to be on anything near their own Final Journey.
The third chapter on the new age of Accept will be released on August 19th (USA) August 15th (Europe) under the name of Blind Rage. After their return in 2010 with Blood Of The Nations, and the following up release Stalingrad (2012), the band releases this year and album that could be considered as ‘One of their most resounding and definitive records to date’.
There is not need of preamble, introductions, or presentations about this band, as everyone in the metal community knows who they are, and what they have done for heavy metal during their 33 years of musical career. Accept‘s Blind Rage, presents a variety of tracks that encompass what Accept had done in the last 4 years. Their sound on this album is emotive, epic, and pretty fucking metal, I must say. Without forgetting their roots, they have been able to revamp their trademark sound, and raise the flags of metal to the highest possible. Some of the songs on the album, like; Stampede, Dying Breed, and Final Journey have that classic Accept sound that we all love.
There is also a lot of room for change and experimentation as well, songs like Fall Of The Empire, Trail Of Tears, and 200 Years are more catchy, and epic. The melodies on this songs have their own personality, that still carrying the trademark sound of Accept, but they are somehow different from their classic sound. For some reason, I see Blind Rage adding a balance to what the band did on Teutonic Terrorand Stalingrad. Not only the album has more swing and emotion, but it also opens a window to the return of the ’80′s Power Ballad’ concept, and in this album we can find several of those.
Songs like The Dark Side Of My Heart, Wanna Be Free or The Curse, we can find a lot of 80′s reminiscence, as these songs are not only catchy, but they have soul and an attitude on their own. With that being said, this album is not only heavy and a bit regressive, but it also shows the soft side of Accept, and the capability of the band to transform and assimilate this kind of ballads to a modern audience without make it sounds like a recycled cliché.
Blind Rage, is an open book to what Accept is today, their sound, their legacy, and the way to create original heavy metal music in a market saturated with technical, scene or progressive labels. Accept, succeeds on creating a heavy metal record that sounds pure, and honest. Without a doubt a candidate for many top albums’s list this year, and of course a must have if you are die-hard fan of heavy metal on its pure essence.
“The late-career resurgence of Accept has been hard-won…fist-raising anthems…a bevvy of cocksure riffs balanced by a strong melody” – NPR
Heavy Metal legends ACCEPT will release their new album Blind Rage on August 19 via Nuclear Blast Records. The influential group’s 14th studio album was produced by renowned audio engineer Andy Sneap (Megadeth, Napalm Death, Opeth) and is the follow-up to 2012’s Stalingrad, which debuted at #81 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and was hailed as “brilliant” and a record that “the traditional metalhead will really cherish” by Goldmine. Today,NPR premieres the new ACCEPT song “Final Journey” from Blind Rage, saying, “it is surprising to hear Edvard Grieg’s “Morning Mood” in the last minutes of “Final Journey,” especially pitting Grieg’s theme that conjures spring and new-ness to a song about death.”Check out the NPR premiere of ACCEPT’s “Final Journey” now at THIS location.
ACCEPT will perform a series of exclusive U.S. live performances including shows in Las Vegas (Sept. 13) and NYC (Sept. 14) as well as a show at the historic Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, CA (Sept. 12) where the band will be joined by special guests Metal Church and Raven, for what promises to be the most metal of evenings. The just-announced Blind Rage celebratory gigs are as follows:
ACCEPT U.S. tour dates:
September 11 Solana Beach, CA Belly Up Tavern (w/ Metal Church / tickets HERE) September 12 Beverly Hills, CA Saban Theatre (w/ Metal Church, Raven, tickets HERE) September 13 Las Vegas, NV Count’s Vamp’d (ACCEPT only / tickets HERE) September 14 New York, NY Gramercy Theatre (w/ Raven / tickets HERE)
Although most of us are familiar with the Teutonic thrash metal term describing the particularity of the German thrash metal scene, its counterpart related to heavy metal genre should be in equal use. There is, and always was, something distinctively different about the German metal bands – namely, the aspects of heaviness, majesty and pace of their sound. As for Accept, they’re perhaps the most genuine representatives to the scene, a literal “metal heart” of the German heavy metal – although also this legendary band had their ups and downs. Yet, all this being in the past, now Accept returns stronger than ever with what is their fourteenth studio album, the third one recorded with their current singer Mark Tornillo. Blind Rage is the title of the release, out in August via Nuclear Blast.
The scarlet-colored album cover reveals a picture of an enraged bull ready to attack – and, it turns out, it perfectly completes the furious metal assault of the first track “Stampede” with its muscular riffs and Tornillo’s gruff vocals. Perhaps the highlight of the track is the guitar solo crafted in the best Accept tradition, with distant echoes of neoclassic arrangements which everyone who ever headbanged to “Metal Heart” should be more than familiar with. “Dying Breed” continues in the same feisty manner, Tornillo doing his best Udo-esque impression against the background of a pounding rhythm section and mad guitar duels between Hoffmann and Frank.
Slightly more melodic “Dark Side Of My Heart” opens with a raw riff somewhat devoid of the Teutonic metal majesty and one that may remind you of the typical NWOBHM sound. In its entirety, the song – as many other on this album – bears some resemblance to the classic Accept albums. “Fall Of The Empire” is a shift from the ‘80s influences metal the group has previously embarked on and towards modern-day sound; a majestic, lumbering piece with atmospheric chanted background vocals against Mark Tornillo’s raspy voice taking the lead.
Next is the explosive, fast-paced riff of “Trail Of Tears” that doesn’t let one forget it was Wolf Hoffmann who pioneered such furious licks years before Helloween and Gamma Ray sound helped to coin the term “Power Metal.” And certainly, many young representatives of the current metal scene can only wish and hope they’ll ever sound as powerful as this.
Even the most powerful incarnation of heavy metal was, however, not always about pace and fury – and its pioneers know it well, it seems, delivering a melodic mid-tempo “Wanna Be Free” preceded with a charming, mellow acoustic intro. The track’s relatively subtle melody is in a vivid, yet interesting, contrast with the massive background chants that fill the chorus – and a proof that even more benign face of Accept is still as convincing as their fueled-by-fury trademark sound.
Its follow-up is “200 Years” – as rough and gritty as metal can only get, laden with some heavy, but tasteful guitar licks. “Bloodbath Mastermind” is no slowdown to its predecessor, despite mellow and perhaps misleading intro. And if up to this point – even after the two previous Accept albums – you were not entirely sure about Tornillo’s ability to rip his throat off, the track conclusively proves he’s a sterling screamer.
“From The Ashes We Rise” starts in a somewhat bluesy manner and the echoes of blues are to be heard further in this lumbering, ballad-esque piece. Next is the majestic, guitar-laden epic “The Curse” and fast-paced gallop of “Final Journey” enriched again with a neoclassical-infused solo; undoubtedly, both of the closing tracks finish Blind Rage on a very high note.
Although even a mediocre album from the German giants Accept wouldn’t have shattered their iconic status, Blind Rage is one of these records the only downside of is that they end at some point. Surely, one can discuss the band resorting to the best of their tricks – all staples and trademarks, all things considered classic Accept – but isn’t that the whole point of being a legend in the metal scene that doesn’t have to prove much and can only confirm their status? With their new album, the Germans give their fans exactly what they want to get, a muscular, meaty metal deliciousness spiced up with modern production, but rooted deeply in the sound of Balls To The Wall andMetal Heart. It’s heavy metal at its purest and very best – you can’t help but keep on headbanging. Highly recommended.
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.