ACCEPT – “Blood Of The Nations” CD ’10 (Nuclear Blast, Ger) – I can remember some things vividly. The births of my children, the day I graduated from college, the first time I had sex, my first kiss…and the day my old buddy Doug told me he’d gotten a test-pressing of ACCEPT’s “Breaker” a month before it was to be released. Events like this stand out in sharp relief against the tapestry of time that forms our lives. I can see it just like it was yesterday: We were driving in my ’78 Malibu up Moravia Park Drive and all of the sudden, Doug (he who never lacked a flair for the dramatic) turned to me, his face awash with the emotion of a man who’d just witnessed a mass-mutilation. “Ray,” he began in a hushed tone… “I just got a test-pressing of the new ACCEPT album from the guy at Passport (Records)…. His words hung in the air and he tension was palpable. Then came the resolution, “It’s heavy as shit!!!” Now, you have to understand, this was important to know. The simple reason was that ACCEPT’s first record, released in 1979 was a monster…an electrifying debut, laced with nasty metallic riffs, nuclear whammy bar dive bombs and razor-blade vocals. Somehow, when their sophomore effort arrived in 1980 under the name “I’m A Rebel,” there had been a bit of a castration done to our Teutonic terrors. The production was far more sterile, the riffs were half-assed and the whole thing was eked down several notches (possibly due to Passport trying to mold their own AC/DC…and quite unsuccessfully). So this 3rd one, “Breaker,” was going to tell the real story and my God, it was quite a tale! From the slashing metallic stormers of “Starlight,” “Run If You Can” and the title cut, to the massive (and maybe greatest ever) metal ballad “Can’t Stand The Night” to the caustic slap at the industry, “Son Of A Bitch” this sucker flat-out bristled! And that was the bottom line. The album was a motherfucker and good ol’ Doug put the cherry on top (pun intended) by making his own cover for the white-label promo LP he’d gotten by gluing a “wide-open” shot of a lady from Hustler magazine to the cover.
From this point on, ACCEPT had a damn good run of metallic mayhem ahead of them with scorchers like “Restless & Wild,” “Balls To The Wall” and “Russian Roulette” to add to their collective resumes. Sadly, the band would fall from grace as the ‘80’s unfolded into the grunge-laden ‘90’s, slapped with the double whammy of an industry that just didn’t give a shit and their own creativity going in the dumper. Records like “Eat The Heat” and “Predator” were better off forgotten and truly, the once great German metal tank receded into my memory, their last record hitting the racks in 1996. That was until I saw a little piece online about a new ACCEPT record in 2010. I have to say, my reaction and what I feared led me to think of an old Agent Steel album title, “Skeptic’s Apocalypse.” Udo was no longer on vocals (replaced by Mark Tornillo of TT Quick), and drum god Stefan Kaufmann had given up the stool in favor of Stefan Schwarzmann. Was this going to be another disappointment, a reformation fans would wish never happened? The answer is…
NO!!! Now having listened to “Blood Of The Nations” a handful of times (and that takes awhile, as the 13 tracks clock in at over 70 minutes), I’m here to say “ACCEPT your fate, metallers, the German tank is back!” You’ll have no problem understanding the fact that the boys… Wolf Hoffmann – guitar, Herman Frank – guitar (wasn’t he a Cubs manager years ago?!) and Peter Baltes – bass…really are out for blood when the opening riff of “Beat The Bastards” hits your speakers. From there on, it’s over an hour on a roller coaster of metal thrills with fat, nasty distorted Flying V chords powering the likes of “Locked and Loaded,” “Pandemic” and “Bucketful Of Hate.” Elsewhere, the band once again shows their versatility with the melody and drama of “The Abyss,” “Shades Of Death” and “Time Machine.” Tornillo does a great job of stepping behind the mike and, while he can cut a mean Udo when he wants, his tone is still different and his own, providing a bit of vintage Brian Johnson and even a hint of Dan McCafferty as well. Star of the game has to be shared between the two guitarists, however, with Hoffmann & Frank man-handling their V’s all over the record! Whether it’s locking together in a crushing rhythm or sailing off into screaming solo-fests (many songs contain multiple leads!) this is simultaneously a metal guitarist’s clinic and a work of art to hang over the mantle.
You might remember the day your child was born. You might recall your wedding day (some of us may have more than one of these on file). All the same, I think you’re going to ACCEPT this one into your permanent brain cells too! Two Very Large Erect Flying V’s