Longtime fans of heavy metal will surely recognize the subject of this week's review. It's a little band from Germany known as Accept. Personally, Accept holds the distinction of being the very first metal band I ever saw live. At the risk of dating myself, I saw them in support of their "Metal Heart" album when they opened for Iron Maiden at the Glens Falls Civic Center back in 1985. Their classic "Balls To The Wall" is still one of my favorites.
Accept is back with their 14th studio album, "Blind Rage", again with vocalist Mark Tornillo (formerly of TT Quick) taking the spot long occupied by Udo Dirkschneider. Actually, Tornillo has been with the band since 2009 but I like saying Udo Dirkschneider. Udo Dirkschneider. I think I've gotten it out of my system now.
Joining Tornillo are founding member Wolf Hoffman, longtime bassist Peter Baltes, guitarist Herman Frank and Stefan Schwarzmann on drums. Together, they have assembled another fine album to add to Accept's nearly 40 year history.
I'll be honest, it's challenging for me to review an album from a band who has been at it for 40 years. I mean, some of these guys were there at the very beginning of metal and played a role in it's evolution. Accept is a band who has been doing what they do for quite a while. They're not trying to reinvent the wheel. They are simply doing what they do best in their own, classic style.
And their style, not surprisingly, has and continues to have a lot in common with the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. On the "Blind Rage" album, you'll hear similarities to Judas Priest and even Iron Maiden's "dueling guitar" style of play. But, make no mistake, it is clearly an Accept album.
The theme of "Blind Rage" seems to be "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Listening to this record brought me right back to the mid/late 80's with it's style and song writing structure. The opening track "Stampede" sounds a lot like Overkill circa 1990 minus the range of Bobby Blitz. In fact, the whole album hearkens back to the day and made me realize just how far production values have come since then, especially for metal bands.
What you'll find on "Blind Rage" is nearly an hour of German metal in the form of 11classic, thrash-based songs. Interestingly, many of the lyrics refer to topics that were relevant in the 80s and are relevant again today. For example, the subject of world destruction was a very popular metal theme for a time. It disappeared for a while in the 90s, supplanted by rants against parents and society as a whole, but it seems to pop up more and more often today. It seems like what's old is new again.
"Blind Rage" also has it's share of lamentation throughout. The lyrics of the song "Dying Breed" seem to pay homage to those rockers who have stuck with the tried and true roots of metal and refuse to try to fit the changing times.
And for you long time Accept fans, your gang chorus is found on "Fall Of The Empire". The classic Accept "whoa, whoa, whoa"s are like hearing from an old friend you haven't thought about in a while.
I'll make this simple for you; do you already like Accept? Then you'll like "Blind Rage". Do you like breaking out your old Exciter, Impaler or similar Metal Blade cassette tapes and headbanging while driving your 82 Chevy Malibu? Then you'll like "Blind Rage". Are you a student of metal and want to learn more about it's origins and evolution? Then you'll like "Blind Rage". Actually, I'm hard pressed to think of any fan of metal who wouldn't find something to like on the record.
"Blind Rage" is not a groundbreaking album. It's an album about perseverance. It is an album about staying true to who you are and doing what you love. Accept has had a few personnel changes through the years and they've gone on hiatus a couple of times but they always come back and continue to deliver their best. Any band who can last as long as Accept has deserves a lot of credit and "Blind Rage" proves they still have some gas in their tank.