Album review: Accept “Too Mean To Die”

Accept is back with another great riff-happy metal album and no fewer than three guitarists in the band. Wolf Hoffmann and his men are still relevant and vital.

Accept has always been about those guitar attacks. Ever since the band was founded in Germany in the 1970s, this has been a guitar-based heavy metal band with a talent for writing splendid melodies. In the current German-American line-up of the band, still led by band founder and guitarist Wolf Hoffmann, there are three guitarists. It is a smart move as it means the band can play around with the soundscape and combine creative guitar solos and guitar licks while the band’s signature heavy metal guitar riffing is still there. The title track “Too Mean To Die” is a perfect example of how these capabilities are deployed to create terrific metal music that both recognises the band’s past and is very much here and now. Vocalist Mark Tornillo has a voice that is a very good fit for the band’s music. This being his fifth studio album with the band since he joined in 2009, he is a firmly rooted part of the modern Accept sound. The rest of the band – guitarists Uwe Lulis (Grave Digger) and Philip Shouse (Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley), drummer Christopher Williams (Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley) and bassist Martin Motnik (Uli Jon Roth) – are more recent recruits. They are pros and, musically, they fit in nicely. It is such a joy for fans like me to hear that Accept can stay relevant and vital after all these years. Wolf Hoffmann has seen people come and go, and come again and leave again, but he has managed to keep the Accept spirit alive and intact. On this new album, we get a great combination of classic Accept music combined with some newer influences. This successful combination can probably be traced back to the fact that some of the newer members of the band have contributed to the songwriting, helping to keep Accept relevant and vital. “The Undertaker” is one of the songs that are somewhat removed from the classic Accept sound. It has something of a theatrical touch to it – almost as if it were a song in an Avantasia show. The power ballad “The Best Is Yet To Come” is also quite far away from traditional Accept territory, but it is a great song. On an album like this, it is refreshing that they have mixed things up and are not just trying to do the same old thing. The balance between old and new on this album is just about right. The album has been produced by the very capable Andy Sneap who in recent years has made a name for himself not just as a fab producer but also as a live guitarist for Judas Priest (perhaps this is where the Judas Priest vibes on the track “Zombie Apocalypse” come from?). On the track “Symphony of Pain”, we get to hear the bombastic side of Accept. It’s a playful song by a band that is not afraid of mixing things up and having some fun while performing. “How Do We Sleep” is one of my favourite tracks as it is one of those songs that very neatly manages to make full use of having three guitarists in the line-up and combining that with a cool melody and Mark Tornillo’s strong voice. The instrumental “Samson and Delilah”, which closes the album, is a great jam that demonstrates how good these musicians are. Accept has been one of my favourite bands since “Balls To The Wall”. It is still one of my favourite bands. Thank you, Wolf, for keeping the Accept flame burning.

Accept’s new album “Too Mean To Die” will be released on 15th January in Japan via Ward Records and internationally via Nuclear Blast Records.

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