ACCEPT: PREDATOR (1996)
1) Hard Attack; 2) Crossroads; 3) Making Me Scream; 4) Diggin' In The Dirt; 5) Lay It Down; 6) It Ain't Over Yet; 7) Predator; 8) Crucified; 9) Take Out The Crime; 10) Don't Give A Damn; 11) Run Through The Night; 12) Primitive.
Again, this isn't awful, but the band sounds really tired, as if the invisible hand of fate had rounded all the members up right after their having run an up-the-hill marathon and placed them in the studio with no creative ideas, no prepared material, and a total lack of commitment. A band of one notch less quality than Accept, under such conditions, would have produced some monstrosity; Predator isn't one, but the end results clearly showed that the band was so much out of steam that it was high time to call it a day.
It's funny, but in the light of Predator even the endless streak of "gang choruses" on Death Row seems refreshing and memorable. Predator cuts down on much of the heaviness, cuts down even more seriously on the speed aspect, features a slicker, less involving production style from veteran hair metal producer Michael Wagener, and even reintroduces Peter Baltes on vocals on a couple tracks (they're not power ballads this time, but they're still pretty so-so). The riffs are mostly recycled from their own and other people's songs, and even Udo sounds disinterested. To make matters worse, the album closer 'Primitive' may just be the silliest and ugliest Accept song ever put on record: it's an unfortunate experiment at making some sort of ugly industrial-metal hybrid, quite unsuitable for Accept's overall style.
All of this calls for an unquestionable thumbs down, but as long as Accept aren't truly betraying their essence, as they did on Eat The Heat, there is, and will always be, at least something redeeming about each of their records, and, in the end, 'Hard Attack', 'Don't Give A Damn', 'Crucified', and 'Making Me Scream' are all decent rockers with plenty of headbanging power. 'Run Through The Night' is actually one of their better "rocking ballads", with curious jangling guitar arrangements from Hoffmann (he is in charge of all the guitarwork on the album again). So there's no reason for the fans to stay away from it; people have been known to end their careers on notes far more pitiful than Predator, and, in fact, we can only applaud Accept for their wisdom — once they perceived that the thing was no longer working smoothly, they just packed it in, instead of stubbornly sticking around, wasting money and good old CD plastic.