ACCEPT: German Heavy Metal Legends
The Metal Heart is Still Beating!!
German Heavy Metal legends ACCEPT released their most recent studio album, Blind Rage, in August 2014 via Nuclear Blast Records. Their 14th slab of rock-solid, crushing Heavy Metal was eagerly received by their worldwide headbanger following and continued a remarkable comeback which began with 2010's massive Blood of the Nations album and continued with 2012's Stalingrad.
Since the release of their first studio album in 1979, Accept has grown from local favorites to an international phenomenon, easily ranked as one of Germany's most popular heavy metal exports, alongside their countrymen in the Scorpions and Helloween. While they've played hundreds of shows and influenced countless bands, Accept has also suffered the same internal problems and undergone the usual reunions, break-ups and hiatuses common to all veteran groups. After a dozen years of silence, Accept surprised everyone by roaring back to prominence in the 21st century with new American vocalist Mark Tornillo (formerly of cult Jersey band TT Quick) and they certainly appear stronger now than they've ever been.
The Humble Beginnings...
Accept's roots go back to the late 1960s, when diminutive vocalist Udo Dirkschneider and Michael Wagener first trod the boards in a small time German group called "Band X." The band's name changed and members came and went throughout the 1970s (Wagener later became a renowned record producer/mixer who's worked not only with Accept but also Metallica, Raven, Stryper and Motley Crue, to name just a few) until the first "official" lineup of Accept - anchored by Dirkschneider, guitarist Wolf Hoffman and bassist Peter Baltes - played at 1976's Rock Am Rhein Festival, one of the first rock festivals held in Germany. This appearance led to a recording contract and the release of Accept's first self-titled album. Accept was released in 1979 and is dismissed by the band today as an amateur effort. Accept's reputation slowly grew thanks to harder edged subsequent records like 1980's I'm A Rebel and 1981's Breaker. (Interesting trivia note: the title track to I'm A Rebel was originally written for Australian rock legends AC/DC. The Bon Scott lineup of AC/DC actually recorded the track but never released it. AC/DC's version remains hidden away in their vaults to this very day.) Accept supported Breaker by touring as an opening act for metal heroes Judas Priest, which gave them their first major exposure on the international hard rock scene.
"I'm A Rebel" (1980)
The '80s breakthrough
1982's Restless and Wild kicked off Accept's five-year run at the top of the metal heap. The album featured both sides of the band's songwriting ability - the blistering "Fast as a Shark," which is widely considered to be one of the first-ever Speed Metal songs, showed Accept at their fiercest, while the ballad "Princess of the Dawn" proved that even leather-n-studs tough guys like these can create moments of quiet beauty. Restless and Wild was a runaway success that established Accept as a first-tier band in the exploding European metal market. Udo Dirkschneider's gravelly vocals were a unique counterpoint to the melodic, high pitched singers in most other major metal bands of the era.
Accept scored another home run with 1983's Balls to the Wall, whose crushing title track became their signature song and remains an enduring metal anthem. Tours with KISS and Krokus, among others, kept them on the road for more than two years. 1985's Metal Heart studio album (featuring the single "Midnight Mover") and Kaizoku-Ban live mini-LP continued their winning streak, but by 1986's Russian Roulette the band were starting to feel the strain of the music industry's album-tour-album-tour meat grinder. Dirkschneider opted to exit the band in 1987 to pursue a solo career and the remainder of the band, apparently following dubious advice from management, hired American vocalist David Reece and released Eat The Heat in 1989. The album was a departure from Accept's trademark hard hitting sound, falling more in line with the melodic "hair metal" that was popular at the time. Though the single "Generation Clash" scored some airplay on MTV, fans objected to the change in Accept's sound. The album never caught on, and the band announced their breakup in 1991. Meanwhile, Udo Dirkschneider carried on as a solo artist throughout the 90s, maintaining the classic Accept sound on albums like Animal House, Faceless World, and Mean Machine.
"Balls to the Wall"
Reuniting in the 90s...
You can't keep a good band down forever, and after several years of inactivity Accept reunited with Dirkschneider (who somehow managed to keep his solo project, U.D.O., going along with his Accept duties!) and the reconstituted band released a string of new albums - 1993's excellent Objection Overruled, 1994's Death Row, and 1996's Predator - that flew under the radar in the U.S. but were highly successful in Europe. A 2-CD live album entitled The Final Chapter capped off this phase of the band in 1998 and Accept parted ways a second time. Dirkschneider resumed his solo career and Hoffman went on to work with Sebastian Bach of Skid Row.
Udo and Accept would reunite again for a brief period in the mid 00's for a series of live shows at various European metal festivals, but despite fans' clamoring for a new album, Udo was quoted as saying that while it had been fun revisiting the band's classic songs onstage, attempting to record new material would have been "a disaster." Thus, Herr Dirkschneider officially severed ties with the band at the end of the festival run in 2005. However, the live shows had given Hoffmann and Baltes the itch once again, and the desire sparked by the reunion run refused to die out...
"Protectors of Terror" (1993)
By 2008 Wolf Hoffman and Peter Baltes were jamming some new song ideas with the intention of getting Accept back together for another go-round. An invitation was extended to Udo to rejoin the project, which he declined. Fortunately, a chance meeting with former TT Quick vocalist Mark Tornillo (thanks to a mutual friend of both Hoffman and Tornillo) led to his being announced as Accept's new vocalist in 2009. Most fans were skeptical at first (this writer included) but all doubts were silenced when 2010's monstrous Blood of the Nations proceeded to knock the band's fanbase flat on its ass. Led by the incredible leadoff single "Teutonic Terror," Blood of the Nations was an instant success and Tornillo led the re-energized Accept on a world tour where he was - ahem - accepted by the band's fanbase with open arms. The ecstatic response to Blood of the Nations and its equally successful follow ups Stalingrad and Blind Rage, proves that headbangers around the globe were ready to salute Accept once again with a "sign of victory!"
"Teutonic Terror" (2010)
Get Yer Balls to the Wall!
ACCEPT select discography....
Accept - Brain, 1979
I'm A Rebel - Brain, 1980
Breaker - Brain/Reprise, 1981
Restless and Wild - Brain/Portrait, 1982
Balls to the Wall - Portrait, 1983
Metal Heart - Portrait, 1985
Kaizoku-Ban (live) - Portrait, 1985
Russian Roulette - Portrait, 1986
Eat the Heat - Portrait/RCA, 1989
Staying A Life (live) - Portrait/RCA, 1990
Objection Overruled - RCA/CMC, 1993
Death Row - RCA/Pavement, 1994
Predator - RCA, 1996
All Areas Worldwide (live) - GUN, 1997 (released in the US as The Final Chapter)
Blood of the Nations - Nuclear Blast, 2010
Stalingrad - Nuclear Blast, 2012
Blind Rage - Nuclear Blast, 2014