Accept - "Blood of the Nations" (2010) Review
Comeback of the Decade!
More than five years after its release, Accept's MASSIVE comeback album Blood of the Nations still finds its way into my CD player at least once a week. It was, without a doubt, my favorite heavy metal CD of 2010 (no small feat since it faced stiff competition from Overkill's stellar Ironbound and Raven's long-awaited Walk Through Fire) ... which still surprises me as much as anybody, because when the German metal veterans first announced that they were reuniting in 2009 - without their iconic, camo-clad screamer Udo Dirkschneider - I wasn't terribly interested in hearing it at all. I had nothing against the band's choice for Udo's replacement, former TT Quick vocalist Mark Tornillo (hey, he's a fellow New Jersey resident - of course I'm gonna root for the guy!), but bad memories of Accept's last attempt at carrying on without Dirkschneider (1989's Eat The Heat, an experiment in hair metal featuring American vocalist David Reece) still cast long shadows over the band's good name. Shortly after their comeback announcement, Accept quickly posted some of the new lineup's practice sessions on YouTube ... which at least prompted me to dust off my TT Quick material for its first spins in a very long time (their 1984 self titled EP and 1986's Metal of Honor LP are New Jersey metal essentials!) and led me to think "Hmm, y'know, this might actually work after all." Thus I adopted a "wait and see" attitude while the band jetted off to England to record their first new studio album in over a dozen years with superstar metal producer Andy Sneap (who's worked with Megadeth, Arch Enemy, Exodus and Nevermore, just to name a few) behind the console.
Accept Drops the "Teutonic" Bomb!
In May of 2010, Accept fans got their first taste of the "new" lineup when the music video for "Teutonic Terror" was unleashed on YouTube, to near-universal ecstatic praise from the metal community. Not only was the video UTTERLY bad-ass with its images of the band performing against walls of flames, artillery shells, tanks, and other military hardware, but the song was absolutely killer as well, bringing back pleasant memories of such crushing classics as "Balls to the Wall" and "Metal Heart." I was officially 'sold' on the new album as soon I saw that video!
The Album & the Aftermath...
Nuclear Blast Records released Blood of the Nations in September 2010 and I grabbed a copy as quickly as possible. "Teutonic Terror," of course, was still my favorite track, but I can't find fault with any of the album's 13 songs. Everything is in place - the chugging, machine-like precision of guitarists Wolf Hoffman and Herman Frank, the pounding bass work of Peter Baltes, Stefan Schwarzmann's cannon-like drumming, those big burly sing-along "gang choruses"....musically Blood of the Nations successfully recaptures the "vibe" that made Accept's '80s albums like Restless and Wild and Balls to the Wall such enduring classics. Mark Tornillo's vocals are the most pleasant surprise of all. Strong, confident, and gritty enough to match the "Accept sound" without sounding like a Dirkschneider clone, Mark sounds like he's been fronting the band for his entire life. In addition to "Teutonic Terror," other standout songs included the title track, "Pandemic," the epic "The Abyss," and the crushing album closer "Bucket Full of Hate." Even "Time Machine," the so-called "bonus track," kicked ass, and those are usually thrown in as filler. As soon as I completed my first spin of the CD, I only had four words: "ALBUM OF THE YEAR!" Hell, maybe even the decade!
Since the album's release, Wolf Hoffmann has stated in several interviews that in addition to all the rave reviews, he's also gotten a fair number of "apologies" from critics and nay-sayers who'd told him that he would be wasting his time resurrecting Accept without Udo. Speaking of Herr Dirkschneider, he released his umpteenth solo album, Rev Raptor, in 2011. I haven't heard it myself, but I hope for his sake that Udo brought his "A" game to that record because his former bandmates have now set the bar extremely high.
Even better, Accept has continued their domination in the German metal sweepstakes since Blood's release with two further albums - 2012's Stalingrad and 2014's Blind Rage. The doubters have been officially silenced. Mark Tornillo is the voice of Accept!!
ACCEPT No Substitutes!
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