Russian Roulette



by Sabrutin USER (30 Reviews)
March 20th, 2015 | 10 replies

Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The last piece of Accept's classic era is still worth more than a listen.

1987 marked the ending for Accept's classic era, and even though a few valid releases were published between 1993 and 1996 the band's true comeback album arrived only in 2010, with new vocalist Mark Tornillo. What happened in 1987 is easy to understand, Udo Dirkschneider, the charismatic long time vocalist, left the band due to different musical ideas. It is also easy to note a shift towards a more commercial sound in some parts of Metal Heart. That said, what is often forgotten while speaking of Accept's classic era is the band's seventh LP, Russian Roulette. Showcasing a darker tone than its predecessor, this album is quite the underrated gem.

On paper, Russian Roulette is standard old Accept material without doubts. Actually, it does a bit more: the seven minutes long epic-like "Heaven Is Hell", dealing with religion issues, fuels the darker tone of the album. Memorable moments like the guitar solo that explodes after the shouting of 'is it heaven or hell?' and the following atmospheric organ section give the feeling that this track would have been the best choice to name the album after.

You shouldn't kill your brother
Except if he doesn't know what's right
If he can't love your heaven
Ah, it's mercy for him to die

- Heaven Is Hell

The rest of the album, while showcasing that darker tone, is exactly what one would expect from Accept. Addictive choruses, over-the-top attitude, catchy riffing and wank-free solos are always present. One complaint would be the low mixing of the bass guitar, which could be a bit of an annoyance for those who seek strong rhythm sections, even though the drum work is far from poor (the opener's chorus would be half good without that double bass). Nevertheless, what stops Russian Roulette from being considered on the same league of albums like Restless and Wild and Balls to the Wall is a simple motive: it feels a bit tired, especially in the second half.

The structure of the classic Accept rocker is well known, and it can be intuited just by listening to Dirkschneider distinctive vocals. It is no mystery that it would be hard for him to carry a chorus always on his own, and that is why gang vocals are often used by the band. It can also be intuited that there is a limited number of occasions where you can use such structures before they turn stale, and that is exactly what started to happen in Russian Roulette, before reaching the climax during the band's last reunion with the singer.

Keeping that in mind, do not be fooled by such a talk. Russian Roulette still shows Dirkschneider's Accept at the (almost) best of their game. A highly recommended listen to all who enjoyed listening to the band's most famous albums, and still a valid offering for anyone who is searching for some heavy metal with no frills seasoned with some tasty guitar licks. Highlights include the infectious "Monsterman", "Aiming High", the mellower "It's Hard To Find A Way" and, obviously, "Heaven Is Hell".

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user ratings (110)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2015


Nice. '80s Accept rules, but I haven't heard this one yet. Will check.

Digging: Coldworld - Autumn

Contributing Reviewer
March 20th 2015


Album Rating: 3.0

Great and much needed review Sab, pos.

This one didn't click with me very much on the few listens I gave it but it's still an enjoyable album.

Digging: Fates Warning - Theories of Flight

March 20th 2015


I'm not familiar with that tbh... nice review though so pos.

March 20th 2015


It's always a pleasure to see Accept getting some love. Pos'd for you.
I'm not sure I'll check this though.

March 20th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks everyone, if you enjoy early Accept I'm positive you'll find at least a couple of tracks to enjoy. "Monsterman" is one of my favorite Accept tracks, have a look if you are curious:

March 21st 2015


Album Rating: 5.0

I bought this the day it came out and consider it a soundtrack to my life. Love it and Metal Heart!

March 21st 2015


Album Rating: 3.5


What's your favorite track?

March 21st 2015


Album Rating: 5.0

Tough call, Monsterman then Russian Roulette, Also really like Heaven is Hell.

March 22nd 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

Nice, I'm glad to see the love for Monsterman!

May 3rd 2016


Album Rating: 3.5

I decided to listen to this album again today BEFORE reading your review. As it turns out, I completely agree with you on this. RUSSIAN ROULETTE was received a fairly raw deal from the critics. This album is a return to the heavier, more aggressive sound Accept had on BALLS TO THE WALL. The songs might not be quite as good, but they are solid and well executed. In fact, I'm finding myself liking this much more than METAL HEART. I never liked the Pop Metal album sound of that record. I'm having a tough time reconciling my ratings for RUSSIAN ROULETTE & METAL HEART, which I both gave 3.5 stars. I've even considered bumping this one up a bit (or METAL HEART down to 3 stars). [Read my Sound Off on METAL HEART for further thoughts on that one.]

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