Accept – “Symphonic Terror – Live At Wacken 2017” 2 CD / DVD/ 3 LP / Blu-Ray (Nuclear Blast Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Oh wow, as if headlining the world famous Wacken Open Air festival wasn’t a lifetime event in itself, but in 2017 Accept chose to include a 50 piece orchestra – onstage!! Ambitiously splitting their 2 hour set into 3 parts, the first being a mixture of new songs like ‘Pandemic’ and older tracks like ‘Restless & Wild’ performed by the band only, the second part featured guitarist Wolf Hoffmann accompanied by the orchestra playing tracks off his “Headbangers Symphony” solo record, while the best was saved till last with the band and orchestra dishing out the classics in fine style! Certainly a gamble, especially for Wolf Hoffmann delivering his classical material, and even more so via a full blown orchestra at metal’s mecca renowned for its slogan of ‘faster, louder, harder’, suffice to say that on home ground and what must also be said, nothing short of a blinding performance by both band and orchestra, it’s remarkably pulled off putting Accept back on the world map via this monumental package that captures the spectacle in all its splendour, gargantuan sound and most of all, atmosphere. As a longtime fan who saw the band throughout the 80s, needless to say it’s that third section that’s salivating me the most. Despite my loyalty to Udo, kudos has to be given to Mark Tornillo (who I also followed in the 80s when he was in TT Quick) who has come a long way, and on certain tracks like the mighty ‘Stalingrad’ comes pretty damn close to actually sounding like Accept’s legendary vocalist. However, in other places like on ‘Shadow Soldiers’ and a truly epic ‘Dying Breed’ he delivers a masterful performance in his own right. The orchestra, for their part, prove their worth in actually enhancing pure metallic tracks like ‘Fast As A Shark’ and ‘Metal Heart’ by carefully adding emotional depth and peripheral dramatics where needed but without interfering with the actual formula of the songs, thus making these versions truly worthy of sitting in any Accept fan’s collection. Long a dream of Hoffmann to combine the two elements of metal and classical, “Symphonic Terror – Live At Wacken 2017” must have gone well beyond a highlight performance in the band’s career to one of tremendous personal gratification and as a fan, the man and his band (along with the orchestra) have done us proud.