Since their 2009 reunion Accept have released three stellar albums, with 2014’s Blind Rage (Nuclear Blast) reaching number 1 in the charts of their native Germany. Long term guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and bassist Peter Baltes rejoined the fold but sadly original frontman Udo Dirkschneider did not, his replacement the American Brian Johnson lookalike Mark Tornillo. Restless and Live (Nuclear Blast) comes in a variety of formats including a double album recorded throughout Europe and a live DVD.
The DVD focuses on their headline show at the 2015 ‘Bang Your Head’ festival in Balingen, Germany. Taking place on the weekend of July 16th – 18th, it was a feast of all things heavy with a star-studded bill including Sabaton, Dream Theater, W.A.S.P., Queensryche, Kreator, Anvil and Grand Magus amongst others. Despite the fact guitarist Uwe Lulis and drummer Christopher Williams had only been in the band a matter of months, Accept put on a formidable performance. Not to mention Tornillo, whose hair-raising screams and howls belie the fact he is 62. It is a blistering show from start to finish and you can see the humongous festival crowd were in awe. Their set focused on their newer albums, starting off with the ferocious opening duo of ‘Stampede’ and ‘Stalingrad’ – with some ace bass and guitar flourishes during ‘No Shelter’. Classics were littered throughout the set, including ‘Metal Heart’, ‘Balls to the Wall’ and ‘Princess of the Dawn’.
The double album is 27 tracks in total and covers everything the DVD missed. They are in impervious form assaulting the 2015 European crowds of Kraków, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Minsk and Moscow amongst others with riffs galore. Stalingrad (Nuclear Blast)’s ‘Hellfire’ and the classics ‘London Leatherboys’ and ‘Losers and Winners’ are gloriously vicious.
There is very little banter with the crowd though, which is a shame meaning some of the live experience is diminished, though the atmosphere and the audiences though are still electric, with timeless numbers such as ‘Restless and Wild’ and ‘Fast as a Shark’ going down a treat. The production values are stop on, the sound is crisp but still brimming with raw, live energy.
Restless and Live shows a reformed and rejuvenated Accept in top form, and with news of a new studio album coming out soon, the good times look set to continue.