Take a trip through the Accept’s discography and there has not only been some pretty special albums but a band that set down a blueprint. Since their return with Mark Tornillo on vocals in 2009 and their storming album Blood Of The Nations, the band has been on something of a roll not only bringing the Teutonic Terrors into the 21st century but re-stamping their name onto the metallic map.
It has been three years since The Rise Of Chaos and Too Mean To Die is another title with teeth and connotations. Whether it be Accept’s longevity, their ability to keep coming back in an ever changing musical landscape or even pulling a collection of music out of the bag during the ongoing pandemic – either way it is a title that screams heavy metal spirit. And make no bones about it, Accept are a heavy metal band through and through; they are who they are, their fans want Accept and their trademarks, they do what they do very well so why fix what is not broken? As much the new album does indeed feature such elements known and loved – wicked, classically inspired guitar parts, huge riffs and licks, solos and those tell tale backing vocals that are the DNA of the band, Too Mean To Die sounds fresh and has a streak of lighting crashing straight through it.
This may be the injection of new blood into the band. Since the last record, there has been more line up changes with bassist Peter Baltes, partner in crime to sole remaining original member Wolf Hoffmann for 40 years departing on amicable terms and therefore bringing Martin Motnik to the fold. Another new member to the Accept ranks is third guitarist Philip Shouse which adds a definite a punch in the gut, keeping the guitars not only razor sharp and central to this monster album without overkilling it.
The 44 seconds of doomy guitar belies the remainder of opener Zombie Apocalypse, a burst forth chug that vocalist Mark Tornillo makes his own with the fade in scream but it is the title track that is aiming to take heads clean off, there is no way anyone is ducking from those buzzsaw babies on the chorus which with the vocals overlaying the guitars is absolutely outstanding. Not only from a performance point of view but major credit has to be given to producer Andy Sneap who just knows how to get the best out of Accept and has delivered a gold plated piece of work. Despite the time frame in which the album was created and released, Accept have chosen to stay away from wallowing the the COVID-19 madness but it is always sweet to hear them take digs, Overnight Sensation which lyrically takes a poke at modern day instant celebrity and sonically more mid-paced classic hard rock featuring those trademark backing vocals on the chorus but has those squeals of guitar in the background that never detract from the main event. Similarly, No-Ones Master has a pop at world leaders and their deceit but musically is classic Accept from the riff to the overlaid intro solo, the chug-chug on the verse and there is a real heavy hitting point to Tornillo’s “no-one’s slave” on the chorus.
Accept is about textures and at the half way point the band does open the sonics for the utterly brilliant first single from the album The Undertaker. The slight acoustic guitar leads into and pumping bass tones and it is that low level rumble, even on the vocals before breaking out on the “Whoah” chorus and this is Accept at their most cinematic, the mountains and valleys that it takes the listener is astounding, even the solo is not a screamer, is subtle but in total synchronicity with the whole song. Sucks To Be You is a pick-up-the-pace aggressive jab in the chest but the biggest surprise is the ballad The Best Is Yet To Come which still retains its Accept signature but manages to switch on the emotions. How Do We Sleep At Night appears to lyrically ask questions as to the state of the world that plant the question under Tornillo’s voice with that background vocal pushing it out front and if this song raises a question, is following song Not My Problem the answer? With the judder on the guitar within the verses the chorus is so pointed that when the riff over the chorus kicks in then it really is designed to take out the legs. Closing with the instrumental Samson And Delialah is an interesting choice for ending what is a terrific ride of an album that knows what it wants an how to sock it to its audience.
It is incredible that after 45 years and enough ups and downs to shake a Flying V at that bands like Accept are still releasing albums of this quality that adds genuine excitement with some surprises. With a hard hitting expert production and performed with a passion for their craft, it is that ever lasting spirit of metal that shines through. Too Mean To Die is not just one hell of a way to begin 2021 but with not just one of Accept’s best albums in their recent history but one of their best, period. Too Mean To Die has all the elements and is classic Accept – and then some.
Accept’s new album Too Mean To Die is released on 29 January 2021 on Nuclear Blast Records and can be pre-ordered at this location. (Please note the new date from 15th due to COVID-19 issues)