It’s no secret The Maestro loves his live albums. From the time I was a kid and got my little hands on KISS Alive II there was always something about that setting that just drew me in. The thing is though, the energy has to be there. The mark of a truly great live record is when it captures the energy of a particular night or set of nights and makes us, the listeners either remember what it was like to BE there, or make us wish we were. And in the case of ACCEPT: Restless and Live (January 13, Nuclear Blast Records) it is most certainly the latter since I haven’t been fortunate enough to see them yet. So for now I will have to be content with a CD/DVD set, which is fine. I’m a patient man…I can wait.
Now I haven’t watched the DVD concert, so this review will just be of the two-disc audio featuring 27 songs recorded during the band’s Blind Rage tour of Europe in 2015. Leaning heavily on the three albums that current vocalist Mark Tornillo has sung on (Blood of the Nations, Stalingrad, and Blind Rage) with some old school classics mixed in this set is a die-hard fan’s dream come true. Guitarists Wolf Hoffmann and Uwe Lulis tear through each riff with much aplomb, steady-as-a-rock bassist Peter Baltes anchors the low end, and drummer Christopher Williams attacks his parts with surgical precision. All while Tornillo shreds you vocally with the newer stuff and making the classic songs his own.
The opening salvo of “Stampede”, “Stalingrad”, and “Hellfire” immediately sends a message that you bitches better buckle up because this one’s gonna get rough. “London Leatherboys”, “Living For Tonite” and “Demon’s Night” mark the first time I’ve heard Tornillo sing these anthemic tunes and he absolutely nails them, as does the band behind him. But two of the best gems come in the form of “Dying Breed” and “Final Journey” both from Blind Rage. They hit every bit as hard, if not harder than their studio counterparts and will forever stand the test of time in the ACCEPT catalog. “From the Ashes We Rise” also sounds fucking incredible, especially with the crowd so into it.
Disc two opens with “Starlight” from 1981’s Breaker album and holy fuck does it jam!! The band then tears into “Restless and Wild” before revisiting the previous record with the anti-record company song “Son of a Bitch”. Next up are some more new tunes like the riff-fests “Pandemic”, “Dark Side of My Heart”, and “The Curse” all of which definitely call to mind the old days while keeping things fresh. “Flash Rockin’ Man” is yet another album standout and the guitar work might singe your eyebrows off! Oh man, and then comes that iconic intro and jackhammer pummeling of my fucking FAVORITE ACCEPT SONG OF ALL TIME in “Fast As a Shark,” guaranteed to rip yer nuts off and feed ‘em to ya. I can’t wait to watch this bitch on DVD this weekend!!
Now the record could end there and I’d be fine with that. But NOPE! Fucking “Metal Heart”, “Teutonic Terror”, and “Balls to the Wall” make up a triumvirate of heavy hitters designed to put your head through the wall one last time. I have to say, Mark Tornillo has done some fantastic work on his three studio albums, but he really puts his own stamp on the vintage ACCEPT songs as well. The mix of then and now on this double disc set is the stuff of legend and I loved every minute of it. This is a perfect celebration of a legendary, pioneering metal band. Now all I can do is pray for this legendary band to come through Philly so I can rock out like a madman. You want this live album, you NEED this live album, so GO GET THIS LIVE ALBUM!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM