Review Summary: An inconsistent debut that doesn't reflect the later works of the band.
Back in the day, as a naïve and influence-prone 15- or16-year old metalhead, I kept hearing about this band Accept who were supposed to be good and really important for the overall metal scene. So, as a good little metal sheep, I went out and got myself some Accept. After passing on Objection Overruled
, and being unable to find their most famous outing, 1984’s Restless and Wild
, I finally settled for their 1978 debut, on the ground of “debut albums are usually good stuff, because they capture the band before they sell out”. However, while this logic is fine 90% of the time, it sometimes fails. This was one such case.
You see, Accept did
become an important band, kickstarting German metal and making way for – among others – Running Wild and Helloween. But that was in the 80’s. And this record is from the 70’s. What does that tell you? That’s right - wrong period, boy-o.
In fact, this self-titled debut is closer to 70’s hard rock than pure heavy metal. It sits in the same territory as Judas Priest’s first few albums, not as heavy as, say, Saxon’s debut, but not as mellow as Deep Purple or Def Leppard’s works of the time. Basically, this is a mixture of Steppenwolf, Deep Purple, early Priest and some surprising novelties.
Sporting a wildly original cover – a hot chick wearing leather with a chainsaw! How innovative
! – this album introduces us to singer Udo Dirkschneider, bassist Frank Baltes, lead guitarist Wolf Hoffmann, rhythm and solo guitarist Jörg Fischer and drummer Stefan Kaufmann (who posed for the photos, but was a replacement for Frank Friedrich, who played on this album). Aside from bass duties, Baltes also served as a lead singer for the best track on this album, the power-ballad Seawinds
All the other tracks, though, are sung by Udo Dirkschneider. This guy became known for his raspy and recognisable vocal style, but anyone listening to this album wouldn’t have guessed it. Here, his vocals range from an off-key Bruce Dickinson – when singing in middle-range – and the sound of someone having his balls squeezed hard
– on the awful high-pitched screams. His vocals are still at a very raw stage, and they help bring the overall sound of the album down.
But worse still is the dreadful production. “Murky” may be the best description for it, as it involves all the instruments in a pasty dough of sound. This is particularly evident on Sounds Of War
, which could have been a good track – it has a promising start, with a robotic voice counting down to zero and some police sirens - but instead comes off as a mess of random noises with a musical element coming to the surface here and there. Surprisingly, on the clearer moments like Seawinds
and Glad To Be Alone
, the production lights up a bit, and - on the second case – even Udo’s vocals seem to improve in order to give us a fine semi-balladsy track. What a pity this can’t last.
Songs such as Lady You
and Take Him In My Heart
do show some potential, although both are marred by excessive vocal harmonizing, which detracts from the firepower of the band’s riffs. You’ll be setting yourself up to hear a good track, to do some air-guitaring or headbanging, and then BAM! along comes a cheesy vocal harmony to ruin your day.
These tracks are all right, though. The worse part are the declaredly bad tracks. Tired Of Me
both have nauseatingly repetitive choruses, which are sung about 3.000 times each, until you want to tear your hair out just to make it stop. Tracks like Street Fighter
are more subdued, but suffer from being just plain uninteresting.
Special mention has to be made of Free Me Now
, though. Although marred by glaringly inadequate production, this song introduces an element seldom seen until that point – double bass drumming! That’s right, this song is a clear predecessor of speed metal and predates bands like Helloween by a good five years. This track is musically innovative, with a good chorus, and leaves you thinking “what if
it had decent production and vocals?” The same can be said of That’s Rock’n’Roll
, a rip-snorting, although not as innovative, trip through late 70’s hard-rock, sometimes coming close to the faster tracks of early AC/DC, but once again let down by the inconsistent production.
Musically, nothing to say – they may not be the best of musicians, but they deliver some decent riffs and good solos, and clearly know their way around an instrument. What a pity that – again – the production leaves them little space to shine.
This is, then, a very inconsistent album, that goes from the very good – Seawinds
– to the very bad – Tired Of Me
– through the very boring – Street Fighter
. Recommended only for completists of either the band or the musical period. Those of you who want to get to know Accept better start somewhere else. At one of their later albums, perhaps.
- Glad To Be Alone
- Udo Dirkschneider (here!)
- Tired of Me
- Sounds of War
Glad To Be Alone