Accept – “The Rise Of Chaos” (Nuclear Blast)
With the UDO tour still steaming along like a juggernaut, and the loss of classic line up members Herman Frank and Stefan Schwarzmann following the release of 2014’s “Blind Rage”, it did look like it might be curtains for Germany’s premiere heavy metal band – if not, a major setback. However, the tightness of founders Wolf Hoffmann on guitar and bassist Peter Baltes, whose relationship goes back to the late 70s, could not be overstated to the point where they have been criticized for not allowing others to collaborate in the band’s song writing, either rightly or wrongly. With vocalist Mark Tornillo now on solid ground, the duo have accepted the change, not dwelled on nostalgia and recruited new blood to come back with this par excellence 15th album that sees them doing what they’ve always done best – heavy metal! While Tornillo on occasions attempts the Udo cat purr like on the blurring ‘No Regrets’ with Chris Williams driving double bass drumming proving that Accept are more than capable of still cranking their famed sound, I tend to feel he’s more comfortable on his own ground such as ‘Carry The Weight’, which has Riot like melodic power metal tones to match its high tempo delivery. On the ode to the old school ‘Analogue Man’ its foot stomping riff time a la AC/DC along with those lead breaks and swanky rock n roll solos although the chorus definitely lends to ‘Balls To The Wall’ – probably no coincidence given their commercial success with it! Speaking of guitars, I have to say they are loud, with producer Andy Sneap definitely going to ’11’ but besides the metal to the max sound, the technical brilliance of Hoffmann and Uwe Lulis (Grave Digger, Rebellion) is truly impressive across the 10 tracks here from delivering monster hooks and irresistable, mind blowing Germanic solos – well, it’s Accept innit? Along with all this there’s enough singalongs to match their younger peers especially on the festival circuit with songs like ‘Koolaid’ – written about the Jonestown Massacre – or the poignant ‘What’s Done Is Done’ with its darker riffing and ominous pounding drums. True to their current status as a US / German band, Accept’s future lies in bringing the best of these cultures together and ‘Race To Extinction’ is definitive of this achievement with its high octane riffing, melodic lines accompanying a catchy chorus and even a hint of NWOBHM warbling – truly a pleasure to listen to along with the band’s desire to still create the best heavy metal on the planet!