St. Paul, Minnesot'as True Metal Record Store (RIP as of Dec. 24, 2015)
In three words: Heavy metal. Metal.
What kills: With more hooks than your grandfather’s tackle box, only better organized, these contemporaries of your grandfather continue to churn out quality heavy metal that belies their extensive history, triumphs and failures all. ACCEPT have found new life. And just like with your dad after he “left for milk” and moved into that sweet 1 BR you used to visit on weekends, you wonder where this energy came from and why it took 15 years to find it. I know testosterone replacement therapy keeps improving and everything but shit.
Does production have anything to do with it? Sure it does. Andy Sneap does another masterful job of walking the precarious line between modern flourish and sterile castration. The rhythm section flares its lats and charges on apace. Dual melodies, emphasis on MELODY, glimmer like familiar jewels. UDO-replacement Mark Tornillo is on the nuts, up and down.
BUT — any of this with less than stellar presentation could easily sound downright flaccid, because as we all know heavy metal has been perfected since ACCEPT took their soccer ball and went home the first time. Maybe even well before that. It really has. The race to the top of Silver Mountain is nothing but soul, muscle and heart, riffs and songs be damned in themselves. If you disagree with these premises AND call yourself a fan of traditional heavy metal, you’ll probably like this album just the same because you’re a stubborn asshole.
The important part is, with that archetype firmly in place, ACCEPT have crafted some real burners. The opener “Stampede” is brutal fun; “Dying Breed” is a great heavy metal tribute; “Fall of the Empire” is somber feels galore. They do know how to write ’em when needed. And they seem like they’re enjoying it unlike some other bands from the goddamn 60s with recent releases who need to fucking hang it up. Maybe quitting for a while does that.
Also to their credit, this does NOT feel anywhere close to being 60 minutes of music, so you value-minded customers take note!
What rots: This seems to be one of those records that is orders of magnitude more fun while on than off. Does that make sense? You remember everything as worse than it seems when hearing it again. This may be a double-edged sword. My over-under for additional listens is something like five at this point; your mileage may vary.
And God the try-hard ballads are shit. Serious SCORPIONS and DEF LEPPARD shit. Maybe that’s fine with you since they’ve clearly done it before, but it becomes more comical the more they morph into some post-modern self reference.
What matters: If you can tolerate the straightest of straightforward heavy metal, with all the cheesy and pus-ridden warts, this is for you. Close to their other recent stuff; recognizable alongside their old catalog. This is one of those albums that can’t be properly criticized without sounding like a socially retarded dickhead, so I’m not going to try.
Tell me more: I never mistook Mark Tornillo for Udo, but one couldn’t be blamed for finding him a worthwhile replacement. After reading some of the lyrics I was impressed with the syntax; after finding out he was from New Jersey I was even more impressed.
Disclaimer: I’ve spent my creative load but more reviews to come, I hope. Happy Labor Day!
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