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4.5 stars - Accept are the unsung heroes of heavy metal
on June 6, 2004
Balls To The Wall(1983). Accept's fifth studio album.
The NWOBHM scene was a great time in heavy metal's history, as many bands were able to bring forth many influences which would later inspire future metal scenes like thrash and death. Judas Priest and Iron Maiden are the popular British bands that most people think of, but Germany also played a seminal role in shaping heavy metal's history. The two most noteworthy bands to come out of Germany at the time were the Scorpions, and Accept. Composed of Udo Dirkschnieder (vocals), Wolf Hoffman and Hermann Frank (lead guitars), Peter Baltes (bass), and Stefan Kaufmann (drums), Accept has actually been around since 1976. Though their third album Breaker(1981) gained them some international exposure, it wasn't until the fourth album Restless & Wild(1982) that Accept established themselves as a real heavy metal force to be reckoned with.
I had always heard of Accept over the years, though I didn't actually listen to their music until now. And after finally hearing this album, I kicked myself for not getting into them sooner! Accept rocks just as much as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden do, two of my favorite metal bands, and easily fits along side them despite their lack of popularity. They sport a sound that's a cross between Judas Priest, The Scorpions, and AC/DC. Udo's vocals are very unorthodox and aren't generally that great, but they do grow on you over time and fit well with the music. Wolf and Hermann serve up some EXCELLENT riffs on this album, and the guitar tone is damn perfect. All these elements come together to form a truly scorching metal band.
BTTW is considered Accept's masterpiece by most fans, though even it never actually propelled the band to major success. That's too bad because there are some excellent anthems on here that any real fan of heavy metal will enjoy. Thanks to the remastering treatment, you can now enjoy this classic album in full, crisp sound, along with the inclusion of a few bonus tracks. Onto the tracks:
The title track starts the album off with a BANG, kind of reminding me of the Scorpions' 'Rock You Like A Hurricane' in style. Very excellent start. Next comes the pounding rocker 'London Leatherboys' which brings to mind Priest's 'Killing Machine'. 'Fight It Back' picks the pace up a bit, serving as a blueprint for influencing thrash bands of the late 80s. 'Head Over Heels' is a slow heavy anthem with a killer baseline in the intro. My favorite track on the album is 'Losing More Than You've Ever Had', which combines a driving heavy style with a very melodic songstructure, and it works out very well. 'Love Child' is another great mid-paced rocker, though from here the album drops slightly in quality from the first half. The last 5 songs are still excellent, though not up to par with the first 6 tracks. 'Losers And Winners' is fastpaced and contains superb verses, subchoruses, and a great solo, but the actual chorus leaves much to be desired. 'Guardian Of The Night' is the opposite, being that now the chorus is the song's high point, but the verses seem like filler. The original album ends on a lighter note with the very melodic 'Winterdreams'. It's not a ballad per se, but rather an accoustic rocker. A very memorable song and one of the album highlights. Then you've got two bonus live tracks of 'Head Over Heels' and 'Love Child'. While both are good and show that Accept can play live, they aren't quite up to their studio counterparts.
Overall, BTTW is a fine heavy metal album and stands alongside the heralded classics of the genre. The only flaws with it are that the album slows down later on, and that the album cover is well... bad. But other than that, there's no reason for heavy metal enthusiasts not to own this high-quality masterpiece. It gets 4.5 stars easy. The next two albums Metal Heart(1985) and Russian Roulette(1986) took the band into a more melodic direction, but they were still just as good as the previous two. In fact, R&W, BTTW, MH, and RR are the four essential Accept albums, and fans can't go wrong with any of them. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Other similar albums by different bands:
-'Love At First Sting' by the Scorpions
-'British Steel' by Judas Priest
-'Killing Machine' by Judas Priest
-'Back In Black' by AC/DC