Review Summary: Turn it on
Accept is one of those bands that just is not very famous, but has one defining album which hits the charts. In this case, it also drove them to the centre of the Metal scene, at least for a while. Balls to the Wall is that album. A perfect combination of excellent musicianship and impressive songwriting makes this not only Accept's best effort, but also one of the greatest album of the 80's. Yes, it's that good.
While the previous album "Restless and Wild" (their breakthrough album) showed the potential of the band, "Balls to the Wall" brings together all the abilities and skills of the five musicians, and shows a vast improvement from previous releases. It consists a full Metal experience, which bears all the good qualities which make a classic album in the genre. Guitar work is absolutely remarkable. The duo Wolf Hoffmann- Herman Frank works flawlessly. Powerful, catchy and above all amazing riffs are found throughout the whole record, and solos are brilliant also. Blazing and effective, yet very likeable and melodic, every damned solo is memorable. I particularly love the one on "Turn Me On", it's one of my all-time favorites. Basslines are also awesome. Peter Baltes is good bassist, and his skills are showed especially on "Head Over Heels", arguably the best song off this record. Drummer Stefan Kaufmann provides good beats which help to solidify and build the structure of the music.
Then we have the front man of this band, Udo Dirkschneider. I'm really fond of his vocals, but no one can deny he is a great singer. His voice fits excellently with the album, and helps a lot to make the overall sound of "Balls to the Wall". He's easily recognizable for his voice, which is very powerful and wide-ranged.
Songwriting here is great. Every song on the album is solid and enjoyable, and you never find repetition. It is impossible to get bored, as you will find something new on every song. The title track features one of most famous riffs ever, and it's a hell of an opener. A legendary anthem. "London Leatherboys" is also a good song, with another nice main riff.
The songs that follow define Accept's sound so well. "Fight it Back" is on the edge of Thrash Metal, with its aggressive riff and the fast and cool bassline. "Head Over Heels" is a hell of a song, and the best one here. Everything on it is interesting, but the guitars are actually superb. The main riff is catchy and powerful, and the bassline is great. "Losing More than You've Ever Had" is one the most underrated song of the album, people usually forget about it, but it's an excellent track. "Love Child" is a straight-forward heavy song, and "Turn Me On" is an outstanding one, that has, as I previously said, a brilliant solo in the middle section. "Losers and Winners" is a nice song, but probably the least interesting one. "Guardian of the Night" shows a simpler style than the other songs, but it's greatly done and the chorus is good and catchy as well.
The last song is "Winterdreams", and it's a ballad. Let me say that it's one of the most beautiful ballads I've ever heard. It's slightly dark and sad, but the atmosphere it has is really charming. This song is a fair proof of how good musicians these guys are, and that they are capable of making more than a good heavy song.
To sum up, Balls to the Wall is an amazing Metal album. All the virtues Accept displayed on previous works, taken to their maximum point. Flawless and awesome from start to finish, this will not disappoint any listener out there. It's also an influential album for genres to come like Speed Metal, due to the clean and impressive guitar work and the fast pace of some songs. Anyone who considers himself a Metal lover should give this a listen.
Recommended songs (every song is worth a listen, but I'll choose some of them):
- Balls to the Wall
- Fight it Back
- Head Over Heels
- Turn Me On