06 April 2012
by Tom Dare
When German more-metal-than-all veterans, Accept, came back with their first album in 14 years in 2010, there was plenty of celebrating a spectacular comeback. There was also plenty of commentary about how immensely metal Accept are, to the point it’s become a cliché. What’s been perhaps slightly overlooked by some – and should be no longer – is how brilliant this band actually are.
Stalingrad continues where Blood Of The Nation left off. Producer Andy Sneap has managed to once more make Accept’s chugging, driving riffs sound massive and modern, despite being rooted in a style that’s 30 years old. They propel this ballsy, in-your-face collection of infectious heavy metal songs right to the very top of the tree. There’s nothing retro or nostalgic going on here, any more than there was with the recent Megadeth albums, the last Testament record or what Cannibal Corpse have been up to recently.
Occasionally yo get “scenes” (for want of a more meaningful word) that springs up, wanting to capture the essence of a certain period of metal’s past. The thrash revival’s been about sounding like it’s the Bay Area in 1985, there’s a growing number of bands worshipping at the altar of Swedish death metal, and we’ve even had some (fairly weak) stabs at “retro” metal. The focus has been on sounding a particular way, rather than being individual – and frequently it’s sounded contrived, and lacked songs with staying power. Accept aren’t doing this. They’re writing songs the best possible way they can, and dear sweet Halford does the difference show.
Galloping riffage that makes you feel mighty enough to fight a tank with your bare knuckles is soared over by vocal hooks big enough to make Moby Dick look like an anchovy, and it’s artfully interspersed with Wolf Hoffman’s amazing guitar solos that balance lyrical melody with arthritis-inducing shred. Fantastic song follows fantastic song follows fantastic song, and before you know it you’re at the end, going back to the start to listen to it all over again.
Listen to ‘Stalingrad’ by Accept:
‘Hung Drawn And Quartered‘ is the chest-beating one to kick it all off, the title track follows it with marching pump and those infamous “aaaah-aaah-aaah” baritone backing vocals popping up in precisely the right places, ‘Shadow Soldiers‘ is the perfectly judged slow one in the middle just when the pace needs to be varied, ‘Revolution‘ is the swaggering rabble-rousing number that kicks the tempo back up, ‘Against The World‘ starts off sounding a bit like ‘Powerslave‘ at the start and is just as good and… frankly you could insert every song in here as one to mention, as they’re all that good. There isn’t any flab, filler or self-indulgence to speak of.
Everyone should be aware by now that Accept are really fucking metal. And they are. They’re just about the only band who could have an album out around this point that can live with 3 Inches Of Blood in the metal stakes. They’re also really fucking brilliant. Let’s focus on that for a while, because Stalingrad is amazing.
Sounds like: Metal, METAL, MEEEETAAAAAALLL!!!!
Stand-out tracks: Stalingrad, Revolution, The Galley (and all of the others)