ACCEPT: BREAKER (1981)
With Breaker, Accept finally... no, not "find their voice" — they'd already found it two years earlier — but rather manage to convince themselves that their voice is truly their voice, and nobody else's, and that nobody else's will do. Breaker initiates a string of four or five records whose only flaw is that they all sound like each other, but if you like that sound, and I can't imagine anyone who's at least marginally partial to hard rock and heavy metal not liking that sound, you'll have no reason to complain.
Apart from the silly decision to let Peter Baltes sing on one more silly soft ballad ('Breaking Up Again'), there is not another single weak spot on the album. Eight fantastic hard rockers with blazing riffs and catchy choruses, plus one more ballad ('Can't Stand The Night') that is, thank God, saved by the wise, wise, wise choice of letting Udo rather than Baltes carry it through with his grizzled out, world-weary delivery. A metal lover's paradise all the way through.
One thing that's formally new is that they have learned how to play it real fast, but without turning the performance into the worst kind of melody-deprived thrash. 'Starlight' and 'Breaker' exemplify this new skill, with the band gelling perfectly, especially the latter with its double-tracked riffs and perfect drumming from Steven Kaufmann. (It's amazing to think they'd eventually top this combination of speed, precision, and melodicity on their next album!) These two stem from the new school of heavy metal as pioneered by Judas Priest; but the band shows itself equally versatile at the old school as well — 'Burning', recorded in a 'quasi-live' setting, is good old Berry-style rock'n'roll dressed up in modern production and polished with modern guitar tones, yet not for a single second does it actually lose the good old rock'n'roll spirit. 'I say hey rock'n'roller, power in your hands, you and your music made me a rockin' man' may not be the smartest type of lyrics to set to this kind of music, but with this here insane level of headbanging, one has to be stone cold sober in the spirit to stop and pay even the smallest attention to the lyrics!
Finally, it is impossible not to mention the hilarious 'Son Of A Bitch': you haven't lived if you haven't heard Udo Dirkschneider scream 'cocksucking motherfucker' along with a string of other obscenities that the band must have been copying directly from a slang dictionary as they went along. Maybe the original intention was to present this as a terrifying, threatening rocker, but with all of its great riffs and Udo's craziness, it works beautifully even as a ridiculous send-up of every terrifying, threatening rocker ever made.
In the end, even the brain has little choice but to applaud the cleverness of it all, but the main player here is still the heart, which, after having pumped wildly for all of the album's duration (only getting a short break to cool off during Peter Baltes' turn), has no choice but to reward it with the most headbanging thumbs up ever given.
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