Few if any of my friends were more excited than me for the brand new ACCEPT album, Blind Rage, out August 19 via Nuclear Blast Records. In fact, I can think of only one (right, Patrick??). After back-to-back home runs with Blood of the Nations and Stalingrad I was very excited to see if this band could three-peat. Well guess what? Mission accomplished. This is just about everything we could ask for and expect in an ACCEPT album, with riffs and hooks that feel very much like the old days. AND Andy Sneap is back in the producer’s chair! This pleases me because I have always loved this band, but now that I’m older I find myself playing their newer records more and more, much like I’ve done with OVERKILL and KREATOR. So let’s see what’s cookin’ with Blind Rage, hey?
Opener “Stampede” picks up right where “Hung, Drawn and Quartered” and “Beat the Bastards” left off in true pulverizing fashion, laying down the sonic law, Wolf Hoffmann and Herman Frank serving notice to all other twin guitar bands out there that they are still very much a force to be reckoned with. Mark Tornillo’s voice is ready to cut glass, and on this album, his third, it feels like he’s been in the band 20 years. “Last of a Dying Breed” is an instant standout with its trademark heavy metal gallop that begs to be blasted over and over again, and “Dark Side of My Heart” could have easily been on the Restless and Wild record alongside “Fast As a Shark”, my all-time favorite ACCEPT number. This is another one that will have you abusing the REPEAT button as I have been. Bassist Peter Baltes and drummer Stefan Schwarzmann serve up a rhythmic cocktail that will have everyone moving; it’s impossible to resist the groove.
There is a very majestic feel to the aptly-titled “Fall of the Empire” and the deliberate potboiler tempo evokes the image of the downtrodden finally deciding they’ve had enough and those who rule them are in deep shit. And then “Trail of Tears” puts the foot on the gas and doesn’t let up for its full four minutes, bulldozing everything in its path. You can hear the older sound meshing with the new on “200 Years” which straddles both eras perfectly, and on “Bloodbath Mastermind” the band plays a bit of a trick on us before bringing down the hammer in one of the album’s most crushing songs. On the opposite end, the acoustic intro and mid-tempo of “Wanna Be Free” belie what is a very anthemic tune, despite not being as heavy as the rest. And there is a very cool nod to the Balls to the Wall era with “From the Ashes We Rise”, something I couldn’t help grinning over.
The multi-level makeup of “The Curse” once again calls to mind the Golden Years, and closer “Final Journey” swings that sledgehammer one last time to remind you that THIS IS MOTHERFUCKING ACCEPT SO YOU BETTER FUCKING GET IN LINE!!! From start to finish this is an excellent record, and with Blind Rage ACCEPT show no signs of slowing down; quite the opposite. It sure sounds like there’s a lot of blood still pumping through that Metal Heart and I can’t wait to hear this stuff live. First it was the Bulls, then the Lakers, and now ACCEPT. All of them can proudly list a three-peat on their résumés!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Last of a Dying Breed”, “Dark Side of My Heart”, “Final Journey”, “Bloodbath Mastermind”, “200 Years”, “Stampede”