Archive for October 21, 2010

Accept – Blood Of The Nations (2010, Nuclear Blast)

  1. Beat The Bastards
  2. Teutonic Terror
  3. The Abyss
  4. Blood Of The Nations
  5. Shades Of Death
  6. Locked And Loaded
  7. Time Machine*
  8. Kill The Pain
  9. Rolling Thunder
  10. Pandemic
  11. New World Comin’
  12. No Shelter
  13. Bucket Full of Hate

* (U.S. bonus track)

Band Lineup:
Mark Tornillo – Vocals
Wolf Hoffmann – Guitars
Herman Frank – Guitars
Peter Baltes – Bass
Stefan Schwarzmann – Drums

Producer: Andy Sneap

Country: Germany & USA

Total Time = 1:12:59

Accept
Accept official MySpace page
Accept official Facebook page

After a long wait, Accept have finally reunited! After the successful Summer 2005 tour of the European festival circuit, rumors of a complete Accept reunion made it’s way across the Internet and infiltrated all corners of the Heavy Metal world. Unfortunately there was no reunion as original Accept singer Udo Dirkschneider declined to participate due to his committment to solo band U.D.O. The seeds were planted though and guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and bassist Peter Baltes started writing together in 2009. Adding guitarist Herman Frank, who joined & recorded on BALLS TO THE WALL (1983) in 1982 and participated in the 2005 reunion tour, and drummer Stefan Shwarzmann (ex-Helloween, U.D.O., Running Wild and more) to the band, the search was on for a lead singer. While Hoffmann and Baltes were demoing new material, a suggestion was made to bring in former TT Quick vocalist Mark Tornillo to sing guide vocals on the demos. That chance meeting landed Tornillo the job as Udo’s replacement in the reunited Accept and led to the recording of this new album, BLOOD OF THE NATIONS.

Basically, BLOOD OF THE NATIONS is an album that captures the classic Accept sound. There is no compromising to be more commercial or follow current Metal trends, the music is pure, traditional Heavy Metal that sounds like the Accept of the 1980s. Was there really anything else to expect? The core of the band is intact with Hoffmann, Baltes and Frank and Schwarzmann is an excellent Metal drummer who can play various styles…..the wild card in all of this is Mark Tornillo. As the original singer for Accept, Udo has carved his name into the true Accept sound, a sound he continues forward with in U.D.O. While Accept has been on various forms of hiatus, Dirkschneider has maintained U.D.O. since 1987 and has made excellent traditional Heavy Metal that sounds like Accept. Udo’s unique vocal style and image are synonymous with Accept, and not many bands can change singers and be successful, and Accpet tried that already once in 1989 when they brought in David Reece for the EAT THE HEAT record. EAT THE HEAT was a failure by Accept standards and the band broke up so I was disappointed and skeptical when I heard that Udo had declined and Tornillo had joined the reformed Accept. I hadn’t listened to a TT Quick album in a long time so I gave METAL OF HONOR (1986) a few spins…..I just didn’t hear the Accept sound. All of my fears of how well Mark would take over the mic were dashed as soon as the band released a video for the single ‘Teutonic Terror’ back in May.

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? And Mark Tornillo sounds pretty close to the power-packed Udo doesn’t he? Once I saw this video and heard ‘Teutonic Terror’, I knew that the band was going to make a solid record. The entire album is a traditional Heavy Metal feast full of churning guitar riffs, twin leads, a pounding rhythm section and the band’s trademark backgound vocals and chants that supplement Tornillo’s vocals. The songwriting is dead on classic Accept and, musically, it sounds like 25+ years haven’t gone by since the days of albums like RESTLESS & WILD, BALLS TO THE WALL and METAL HEART. The key to success rests with Tornillo and his vocals fit the band and material perfectly. He plays it straight with a gritty singing style but his shrieks and screams are the most impressive and it’s those techniques that keep him close to sounding like Udo and the classic Accept style. Obviously fans worldwide agree because BLOOD OF THE NATIONS has entered high on most of the international album charts but the impressive feat is that the album cracked the barren Metal wasteland known as the Billboard 200 at #187. To break the U.S. charts with fourteen years between studio albums and a new lead singer is a great accomplishment.

Just some quick notes on the packaging…..first, there is a bonus track for the U.S. pressing (‘Time Machine’) that appears in the middle of the album. I know that the bonus track was advertised on the pre-order directly through Nuclear Blast so I’m not sure if subsequent pressings (if any) will include ‘Time Machine’. If you want to spend the big bucks on the Japanese import, then you get another bonus track titled ‘Land Of The Free’. This is a glossy digipak with a 14 page glossy booklet full of lyrics, liner notes and pictures so it looks as good as it sounds.

Bottom Line:
Like I mentioned before, not many bands can replace a unique singer, a lot of bands have tried (including Accept) and only a few have had success. On BLOOD OF THE NATIONS, Accept not only replaced the gravel-throated Udo Dirkschneider successfully with Mark Tornillo but they also wrote an album of killer Metal songs full of power and punch. Throughout this review I used two words a lot: “classic” and “traditional”. Using those two words to describe any band or new album in 2010 immeadiately gives a stigma of being dated…..many veteran Metal bands like to stay current and evolve their sound but it doesn’t always work. The basis of the Accept sound is found in album like RESTLESS & WILD (1982) and BALLS TO THE WALL (1983) and that is what they are beloved for, any deviation from that specific formula would be a failure, especially with a new singer. Accept have successfully gone back in time and brought their brand of Heavy Metal from the ’80s and made it sound fresh, exciting and full of power. Choosing a singer that sounds like Udo and enhances the true Accept sound was the right move and Mark Tornillo holds nothing back and makes the position of Accept’s frontman his own. I pre-ordered this album from Nuclear Blast back in the summer and it has been on my daily playlist since it arrived in my mailbox. As a longtime Accept fan, I can honestly say this is one of their best records and one helluva comeback! I had this album as my Album Of The Month for September 2010 but, due to my hiatus with the site, I am posting it now. BLOOD OF THE NATIONS is one of the best records I’ve heard this year!

Favorite Songs:
‘Teutonic Terror’, ‘Blood Of The Nations’, ‘The Abyss’, ‘Shades Of Death’, ‘Pandemic’