By Andrew Bansal
German heavy metal legends Accept released their twelfth studio album “Blood Of The Nations” in late 2010. It was their first studio release after nearly 14 years in the wilderness, and it marked the beginning of a new chapter in the life of this veteran band. Led by new singer Mark Tornillo, they returned with freshness and fervour, and delivered an album for the fans to savor. It was unanimously acknowledged as the best comeback album any band has released in recent years, and now, Accept is ready with the follow-up album “Stalingrad”. It’s an album I was very eagerly waiting for, and I greatly appreciate the band’s quick turnaround. Over the course of the past year or so, they were constantly writing new material, and went straight into the studio at the end of their touring cycle for “Blood Of The Nations”. The result is yet another set of solid heavy metal tunes that add further to Accept’s already fantastic repertoire.
The lively, epic and catchy “Hung Drawn And Quartered” is the opening tune, and the best possible start this album would have hoped for. The band seems to have continued from where they left off in “Blood Of The Nations”, with some great hooks, melodies and solos. This quintessential Accept tune will be nothing short of pure delight for the fans. The title track comes next, and interestingly, it’s straightaway reminiscent of the title track of “Blood Of The Nations”, at least in terms of the vocals and the main riff. But unlike that tune, it doesn’t follow a typically consistent song structure and ventures off into ballad territory in its latter half, and overall, I think it’s relatively more melodic. It took me by surprise to be honest, and I didn’t expect the band to change things so much, simply because Blood Of The Nations worked so well for them.
“Hellfire” takes the album to the next level, with music as solid as anything on the album, and dark undertones that come mainly from the guitar riffs. It straightaway creates a sinister, exotic sort of vibe that captivates the listener, and never lets go. In fact, the last part of that statement can be applied to the entire album, as it really doesn’t wane, even for a single moment. There is a great amount of joy in store for fans of early Accept material, with tunes like “Flash To Bang Time”, “Revolution”, “Against The World” and “The Quick And The Dead” providing plenty of moments that induce head-banging, fist-pumping and singing along. But in addition, there are slower, deeper and melodic tunes like “Shadow Soldiers”, “Twist Of Fate” and “The Galley”, which showcase the depth of Wolf Hoffman and Herman Frank’s guitar work. The range of Mark Tornillo’s vocals is also far greater on this album, as is evident from these three tunes. And of course, Peter Baltes on bass and Stefan Schwarzmann on drums provide brilliant variations in the rhythm section throughout the album, which is almost like stating the obvious, because they do it with such effortless ease.
Ever since I heard of Accept’s comeback, I considered “Blood Of The Nations” as a debut album, simply because it was a fresh start for the band’s new line-up. Any band wants to create a strong impression through their debut album, and once they do that, the second album is invariably better. It’s fascinating for me to note that this applies to Accept as well. They have clearly taken inspiration from their glorious comeback album and the overwhelming reception among fans, as they have come up with an even better album this time around. In my opinion, the band has written these songs with a far greater sense of freedom and adventure, and have expressed themselves completely. Relatively stronger, richer, intricate, melodic and more exotic as compared to the previous effort, Accept’s “Stalingrad” looks set to rule the world of classic heavy metal.
01. Hung Drawn and Quartered (4:35)
02. Stalingrad (5:59)
03. Hellfire (6:07)
04. Flash To Bang Time (4:06)
05. Shadow Soldiers (5:47)
06. Revolution (4:08)
07. Against The World (3:36)
08. Twist Of Fate (5:30)
09. The Quick And The Dead (4:25)
10. The Galley (7:21)
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
April 6th 2012 (Europe)
April 10th 2012 (North America)