It’s amazing how time flies. It seems like just a few months have passed since I did a head to head matchup between Accept’s Blood of Nations with then new singer Mark Tornillo and the Dominator album by U.D.O with of course the original singer. And to reiterate past posts I was markedly taken aback at how good Blood of the Nations actually was because my expectations were so low. Indeed Accept completely revitalized their career on taking a chance on a local favorite but worldwide unknown to front that band and having it pay off. So here we are now just mere days before the release of the follow up album ‘Stalingrad’ and the big question is can the momentum of BoTN continue here or was it a fluke.
It’s no fluke. Stalingrad is another rock solid slab of metal that takes what they did on BoTN and went even further with it. More memorable hooks and Mark Tornillo’s vocals have actually improved on this release. While I was pleasantly surprised in his delivery the last time around there were times where it seemed he was trying too hard to rock and sounded strained. Wolf Hoffman never seems to run out of memorable hooks and riffs and actually the songwriting has improved. There are hardly any eye rolling instances of themes or over the top anthemic choruses as before.
The album starts off with ‘Hung, Drawn and Quartered’ which as the name implies is an ode to being sentenced to death hundreds of years ago. The title track ‘Stalingrad’ is also the first released single and is about as memorable tune as you can get which is saying a lot about a band that excels in memorable tracks. ‘Hellfire’ is a slower mid-tempo-ed tune but no less heavy track. ‘Flash to Bang Time’ is a ripping and speedy tune that highlights Tornillo’s upper register shrieks. ‘Shadow Soldiers’ is about as close to a ballad as you’ll get on the album. Quite a bit of soulful lead guitar playing. Once again this is where Tornillo is actually better then Udo was when it comes to actually singing ballads. Make no mistake though this isn’t really a ballad just a more sensitive song. ‘Revolution’ follows with a this world is fucked up theme and is a fun tune. ‘Twist of Fate’ is almost a bluesy style of song and then transitions to some rocking riffs midway through. Possibly my favorite track on the album. Overall there are ten tracks to this and it goes by pretty quick even though a couple of songs are over 6 minutes in length.
Once again Andy Sneap is at the helm of producing and this style of metal is where his talents excel. The production is nice and balanced throughout where every instrument is distinct and you get a full listening experience. Herman Frank complements Wolf Hoffman well on guitar. Peter Baltes is always solid and his playing gets noticed well on this release once again thanks to Sneap’s production. I have no complaints on Stefan Schwarzmann’s drumming either because in a day in age where blastbeats, triggers, and crazy patterns prevail it’s nice to hear solid drumbeats with no frills.
Again I’d like to reiterate that Accept has accomplished a rare feat this late in their career. While Stalingrad does not supplant ‘Metal Heart’ as my favorite Accept album it does cement the fact that this band kicks as much ass as they did in the 80’s. Mark Tornillo barring something weird happening is here to stay as vocalist and there is no reason for any calls of Udo coming back. Let that die and enjoy this incarnation of Accept as they are once again doing heavy metal better then almost anyone else especially of their peers. It’s truly in an era where the old guard is retiring or putting out lukewarm music Accept has stepped up their game. They deserve to have the support stepped up for them as well. Here is the title track in case you’ve never heard it and be sure to pick up Stalingrad in Europe and on April 10th it will be out here in North America.