I did not need to hear any of the advance singles to know this was going to be good. Three albums into Accept’s latest comeback, any skepticism about Udo-soundalike Mark Tornillo on vocals has melted away. Far from being over-the-hill dinosaurs, these guys have tapped into the sound of classic Accept, making this the Metal Heart to Blood of the Nations’ Fast as a Shark and Stalingrad’s Balls to the Wall. And yes, that Metal Heart’s still beating!
Although it’s missing a classic Engrish chorus like “We will… give ‘em the axe!,” said advance single, “Stampede,” is still a pretty ripping tune that comes barrelling out of the gate like the proto-speed metal these guys were pumping out in ’82. “Dying Breed” almost reminds me of a more-modern U.D.O. tune, especially with the “whoa-oh” pre-chorus. Speaking of refrains, this one is certainly meant to be shouted along with in the live setting. “Dark Side of My Heart” actually sounds like it could’ve come from Metal Heart, with a slow, sparse verse building up into a vintage Accept chorus. You’d almost swear they wrote it in ’86!
The mellow verse of “Fall of the Empire” recalls “Balls to the Wall,” or again, latter-day U.D.O. And more gang backing “whoa-oh-oh-oh-ohs” on the pre-chorus. “200 Years” picks up the pace with some digitized backing vocals on another very solid slice of trad metal, backed with another old-school speed-metal attack in “Bloodbath Mastermind.” Sure, some of these 11 songs are a little less memorable, they all tend to be a tad long, and the album’s fairly lengthy at 62 minutes… but y’know what, I’ll still be there barking out the words to the top cuts next time they come through town.