Accept - Stalingrad 4.5/5

Reviewed: 6-1-12





Tracklist:

1. Hung, drawn and quartered.
2. Stalingrad
3. Hellfire
4. Flash to bang time
5. Shadow soldiers
6. Revolution
7. Against the world
8. Twist of fate
9. The quick and the dead
10. Never forget
11. The galley


33 years after the release of their first CD, the German masters of straight forward metal return with their 13th full-length work, and those who loved its predecessor, ‘Blood of the nations’, will not be in any way disappointed. Like pretty much all the Accept that comes before it, this CD is as pure, adjective-less heavy metal as you can imagine, but refined to incredible potency. The only surprise on this CD is the lyrics covering more historic subject matter leading to their most serious libretto yet.

‘Blood of the nations’ was a bit of a surprise for some, as no one knew how good Accept could be with a new vocalist. The first non-Udo try with David Reece was NOT considered a rousing success. But ‘Blood of the nations’ in 2010 made believers in almost all metal fans who heard it. In fact, on a recent That Metal Show on VH1, when the hosts were asked to pick the best CD of the millennium (an ad hoc procedure at best which focused on many potential picks of nu and extreme modern metal which are the opposite of Accept} they ended up picking ‘Blood of the nations’ as the best CD of all since 2001.

On ‘Stalingrad’. Mark Tornillo returns for his 2nd CD with the band, and is just as good as he was before, excoriating with a voice combining gravel rasp and leather melody, channeling a healthy dose of Jon Oliva, Udo, and Brian Johnson, with a hint of Eric Adams. Wolf Hoffmann, stalwart as they comes, blends his sublimely produced riffs of chugging steel and dissecting leads with Herman Frank. Peter Baltes is the 3rd in the band to offer up the classic synchronized head banging on bass, while Stefan Schwarzmann on drums (who played with Running Wild, U.D.O., and even Krokus) delivers a sonic metronome of thunder. All of it comes together with great songwriting, and a potent blend of speed and crushing power.

Accept’s lyrics over the years have hit on some heavy topics and have had their moments of poignancy (“Fight it back”, “Russian roulette”), but they have also had their fair share of lighter topics as well as some that were rather bizarre (“Screaming for a love bit” and“Head over heels”). But this time around the band surprises with more serious topics akin to an Iron Maiden CD. The title track recounts the brutal and stalwart defense of the city by the Russian soldiers against the German invasion, while “Hellfire” recounts the devastation of Dresden by the allies. “The galley” actually quotes the Kipling poem (Song of the Galley-Slaves) by Rudyard Kipling, in recounting the forced labor on a slave ship. “Shadow soldiers” is one of the most moving songs on the CD, and nothing could more perfectly capture the theme of Memorial Day than this vision of fallen soldiers across the world feeling the worth of their sacrifice by spiritually viewing the lives of those who live on in freedom.



CRAIG




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