With only guitarist Wolf Hoffmann remaining from the original classic Accept line-up you could be forgiven for assuming this might eventually result in a decline in quality. And you may end up being proven right. Just not yet.
The enforced reshuffling of personnel over the last few years has done little to dent the band’s quality or enthusiasm, with the new album Too Mean to Die(Nuclear Blast Records) proving one of their strongest releases since recruiting vocalist Mark Tornillo back in 2009.
Managing to ruin the best-laid plans of virtually everyone on the planet, Accept has been no stranger to the effects of Coronavirus. Causing chaos, panic, and conspiracy theories everywhere, the pesky pandemic forced a hurried abandonment of the recording process, long time producer Andy Sneap pulling the plug back in March but rejoining with the band to complete the record in July.
Returning with Tornillo and Hoffmann are guitarists Uwe Lulis and drummer Christopher Williams, plus new boys Philip Shouse on guitar and Martin Motnik on bass, both of whom slip so seamlessly into the band that you’d almost never know. Opener ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ is all chunky riffs and pulse-pounding rhythms, Tornillo screaming until his lungs burst, while the title track works as a renewed mission statement and a belligerent middle-finger salute to Coronavirus.
‘Overnight Sensation’ is Accept at their most AC/DC, ‘No One’s Master’ is another memorable slab of riffs, and with its sombre crawl, ‘The Undertaker’ is reminiscent of ‘Heaven is Hell’ from the band’s 1986 Russian Roulette (Portrait Records) album. ‘Sucks To Be You’ is middle finger time again, while ‘Symphony of Pain’ is another absolute banger including a neoclassical interpretation of Beethoven‘s ‘Ode To Joy’.
‘The Best is Yet to Come’ sees the band entering mandatory power ballad territory. An absorbing deep cut punctuated by an excellent vocal performance from Tornillo. Melodic bruiser ‘How Do We Sleep’ sweeps in afterwards followed by ‘Not My Problem’, another AC/DC style stomp that takes its cues from ‘Beating Around the Bush’. ‘Samson and Delilah’ closes out the record, a slow, brooding Instrumental with a Middle Eastern vibe and more neoclassical noodling.
An absolute catalogue of riffs and choruses, bolstered by yet another first-class Andy Sneap production, Too Mean To Die isn’t just an in-your-face message of defiance but one of the first great heavy metal records of 2021.
Purchase and stream the album here: http://nblast.de/Accept-TooMeanToDie
8 / 10