ACCEPT: BLOOD OF THE NATIONS (2010)
1) Beat The Bastards; 2) Teutonic Terror; 3) The Abyss; 4) Blood Of The Nations; 5) Shades Of Death; 6) Locked And Loaded; 7) Kill The Pain; 8) Rolling Thunder; 9) Pandemic; 10) New World Comin'; 11) No Shelter; 12) Bucket Full Of Hate; 13*) Time Machine.
But what is this? Fourteen years into the future, and once again Accept are riding the waves? Did anyone see this coming? Actually, maybe yes. After all, Wolf Hoffmann did not have much of a stunning career in the interim, and in between the perspective of retiring to sell Sauerkraut and staying in the big leagues with the big name, it was at least a 50-50 chance that, sooner or later, we'd see the familiar logo once again.
So the band is back, with a mixed line-up. Hoffmann and Baltes represent the original forefathers; surprisingly, they managed to re-recruit second guitarist Herman Frank from the Balls To The Wall lineup, but at the expense of losing the original drummer (Stefan Schwarzmann replaces Kaufman). No matter; the sound is decidedly Accept-able (har har), with all the brutal tones and jagged riffs and rigid metallic beats faithfully preserved and worshipped.
The biggest concern, naturally, was with the vocalist; Udo did not care to participate in the reunion this time, being fairly happy with his solo career. This time, however, the band chose their new vocalist carefully, avoiding the David Reece blunder of 1989: Udo's replacement, a little-known metal belter called Mark Tornillo, is unquestionably the closest substitute for Dirkschneider that they could find. His voice is a little lower, so you cannot confuse the two, but just as raspy, provocative and powerful, enough to eliminate the cheese factor.
This in itself gives a transparent hint as to Hoffmann's goals: make, once again, a «quintessentially Accept» record, something that would faithfully recreate the form and spirit of something like Metal Heart. It works. Every single song off Blood Of The Nations sounds like 1985 all over again — not a single shred of the influence of nu-metal or any of those other silly unnecessary innovations that the hard-rocking kids had come up with over the last decade. Just straightforward uncompromising metal for the masses, all the way through.
There are problems, though. The nearly seventy-minute long duration is not one of them: the material is monotonous, yes, but also very even in quality, so you can shorten or extend it at will, or change the running order of the tracks with no loss of conceptuality. The real bad piece of news is that there is not a single riff on here that would swipe me off my feet — all the best ones we've already had on one or another of their previous releases, with only the tiniest of variations, and, come to think of it, the same applies to the worst ones.
So what happened is that, in his respectable drive to bring back the power of Metal Heart, Hoffmann predictably bumped in the predictable hole. When Accept were recording Metal Heart, the pervasive idea was, «Let's record some songs to kick ass with!» Here, the idea is «Let's record another Metal Heart!» — feel the difference? Many of the fans, judging by the rave reviews, obviously do not, but I sure do. All of these tracks — with the exception of 'Kill The Pain', a generic and severely trashable power ballad — are enjoyable, but not a single one stays home with you the same way an 'Up To The Limit' or a 'Dogs On Leads' was able to stay.
On the other hand, I did say that Blood Of The Nations honours not only the form of Accept, but its spirit as well. The sound is awesome, and I can totally understand the positive reception: if the collective brain of the band has not been spared by time, at least its collective brawn is firmly in place, and with a heavy metal outfit like this, you never really know which one is the more important. For an Accept or a metal fan in general, the record is a must-have; for those who like their riffage to be more inventive, however, it is passable. A brawny, not brainy, thumbs up.
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