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Friday, July 10, 2009

Accept: Accept


1) Lady Lou; 2) Tired Of Me; 3) Seawinds; 4) Take Him In My Heart; 5) Sounds Of War; 6) Free Me Now; 7) Glad To Be Alone; 8) That's Rock'n'Roll; 9) Helldriver; 10) Street Fighter.

For the casual metalhead, Accept usually begin with Restless & Wild (1983), culminate with Balls To The Wall (1984), and shoot their final load on Metal Heart (1985); at least, this is the picture one usually gets from standard run-of-the-mill guides to music. This is, however, a seri­ously flawed picture, confusing "notability" and "commercial success" with the simple pleasures of listening to good music. I, for one, prefer the more complicated view that says Accept were great from the very start — maybe in slightly smaller doses, though.

On their first album, much like on every other album they put out, Accept have firmly stated that they don't do nothing much except just play rock'n'roll. Well, such usually is the case if one of the songs on your record is titled — drumroll — 'That's Rock'n'Roll'. They never were quite as hard-headed about it as, say, AC/DC, allowing themselves space for a power ballad or two, and their guitarists, placing heavy accent on melodicity, could occasionally dip into classical sources, but overall, this is basic, brutal headbanging music for headbangers. And in terms of headbanging power, Accept delivers the goods in fine German style almost every bit as well as the records from the band's "classic" period.

Of course, they're modeling their sound — crunchy, ultra-precise riffs, fluid melodic soloing, and on-key screeching from a mad vocalist — on the already popular Scorpions model. But there can be no problem with that if they're writing songs that are every bit as good, and sometimes better, than the ones circulated around by their predecessors. 'Tired Of Me', 'Sounds Of War', 'That's Rock'n'Roll', 'Helldriver' — all solid hard rock with catchy choruses, and the band's professiona­lism along with lead singer Udo Dirkschneider's charisma prevent it from sounding as dumb as the titles might suggest. Quite frequently, they also seem to be catching the punk virus, as tracks like 'Street Fighter' ('hate you hate you, leave us alone man') demonstrate, and the reckless speed of 'That's Rock'n'Roll' — maybe not proverbial "trash", but close enough — brings Mötorhead to mind. In short, there's some food for thought, a big achievement for a basic hard rock record.

The album's centerpiece, however, and the most complex track, is 'Glad To Be Alone', one of the most bombastic pieces the band ever made. It alternates between slow, power-ballad parts (al­though it is a bit of a stretch to call them "ballad"-like, what with Udo's hateful raving at the world being their main attraction) and much faster, "art-metal" choruses. It's not a masterpiece, but they still pull it off, thanks mainly to Udo and the fact that the lead guitarist doesn't just run up and down the scale but bothers to squeeze the obligatory arpeggios into honestly emotional and memorable solos. It doesn't work nearly as well on the album's one true power ballad, 'Sea­winds', but that particular track was destined to be a misfire because Accept's whole schtick really only works as long as they're angry — in fact, the simple rule is that the angrier they are, the coo­ler the results. Udo Dirkschneider waxing lyrical over some trifling matter is no one's idea of a real cool time, though.

The heart against brain struggle is hardly relevant here, since records like these all but require you to shut the latter down, but the heart does find comfort in its power grooves, and release in its righteous anger. So, thumbs up from the heart, if a bit mildly, since, after all, the later records would beat this in terms of consistency.

Check "Accept" (CD) on Amazon

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