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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Accept: Blind Rage


1) Stampede; 2) Dying Breed; 3) Dark Side Of My Heart; 4) Fall Of The Empire; 5) Trail Of Tears; 6) Wanna Be Free; 7) 200 Years; 8) Bloodbath Mastermind; 9) From The Ashes We Rise; 10) The Curse; 11) Final Journey; 12) Thrown To The Wolves.

Riding high on the national stereotype wave, I would say it is a little less surprising to see such stern, brutal discipline from our German metal friends than it is from Lemmy Kilmister and his unruly gang in Motörhead. But even so, it is a little hilarious to watch 21st century Accept settle into this unwavering mode of releasing, every two years, a new album that sounds exactly like its predecessor. I guess it also saves the reviewer extra work: all I really need to say about Blind Rage is that if you liked Blood Of The Nations, and then you liked Stalingrad without paying attention to the fact that it was the same record with minor variations, you are, without the slight­est doubt, going to like Blind Rage — and, as it is now made obvious, probably every next Accept record as long as Hoffmann keeps on pushing these riffs and Tornillo keeps up his best Dirkschneider impression.

I don't want to talk about good songs, I don't want to talk about bad songs, I just have to confirm that the band still sounds very much like the red bull on the album cover. The guitar tones have all the crunch, the lead vocalist has all the banshee credibility, the gang choruses are firmly in place, the drummer bashes his kit like Satan's page, and the band as a whole seems to have com­plete confidence in itself and whatever it is doing. This is all true, and yet, and yet, and yet I still happen to hold empty hope that perhaps, one day, we might yet see another ʽPrincess Of The Dawnʼ from these guys — you know, from the old days when they could not only kick ass, but throw in something genuinely creative and mind-blowing from time to time.

As it is, just brace yourself for one more hour of ball-crushing bullpower. When you see that the first song is called ʽStampedeʼ, you just know what it is going to be — fast, furious, aggressive, quickly building up towards the big gang chorus, which is, of course, "STAMPEDE!... STAM­PEDE!..." interspersed with Tornillo's one-liners, and culminating in a lengthy Hoffmann solo. Then the second track slows down a little, and becomes a lyrical celebration of heavy metal, with references to black sabbaths, purple hazes, silver mountains, screaming with vengeance, and phrases like "the zeppelin led its voyage thru skies of purple deep", which might fairly well offend both Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore, but seems to represent a respectful tribute for these guys: "and we salute you — The Last of the Dying Breed!". Well, silly as it is, Accept themselves are the last of the dying breed: this vibe that they still brew so well belongs so utterly to the 20th century that it does sometimes amaze me how they have managed to carry it over so well into the 21st. Who cares if all the songs sound the same, really, or if they are completely incapable of coming up with another ʽBalls To The Wallʼ-level hook? It's all in the vibe, man.

Subsequent themes involve anti-imperialism, anti-militarism, prophecies of doom, bloodbaths, the fall of mankind, and the eternal struggle of good versus evil — you know the regular drift. Some choruses are catchier than others (ʽFrom The Ashes We Riseʼ is very singalong-able), some tempos are faster than others (ʽTrail Of Tearsʼ is probably the fastest song about the Indian plight ever written — I had no idea that the Cherokee pioneered speed metal to wreak vengeance on the white man), but writing about this in any sort of detail should be relegated to highly specialized Accept fan boards, or, at least, professional metal magazines.

So let me just conclude with this minor detail: it is actually worth seeking out the edition with the bonus track ʽThrown To The Wolvesʼ, since the song (an AC/DC-themed anthem of sexual hunger) begins with an overdriven, ultraloud riff that threatens to eat you alive more convincingly than any of the melodies on the «proper» album. Maybe they decided to leave it off the main body because of the theme — Blind Rage, is after all, more of a conceptual, «socially-relevant» album. But it's funny that the apex of their ferociousness is reached just as they leave behind the social topics and embark on a «fleshy» trip instead. Which just goes to show that the best heavy metal is, after all, just yer basic rock'n'roll — goes best with sex, rather than social protest.

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