Review Summary: A spectacular metal album, through and through.
One of Germany's most distinguished musical exports, Accept had fallen dormant after 1996's Predator
. A couple reunion tours bubbled up in the 2000s, but nothing had come about from them; inimitable frontman Udo Dirkschneider was happy with his own band's efforts, and it stands to reason that Wolf Hoffman and the rest of the band weren't wanting to risk finding another singer (following [i]Eat the Heat[/i} and David Reece).
Surprisingly, they ended up with the perfect replacement for Udo: Mark Tornillo, formerly of TT Quick. Vocally, Tornillo is capable of about the same range and acrobatics as Udo, just with less of a Germanic accent when he's not in the higher register. Armed with a new singer, the band began to write new material and, in 2010, pulled together one of the most surprising heavy metal comebacks, Blood of the Nations
Opener "Beat the Bastards" is a showcase of what 21st-century Accept is going to sound like; fast, high-energy guitar riffing; strong bass lines and drumming; and a very capable performance from Mark Tornillo that suggests they might capture the magic of the old Accept albums, like Balls to the Wall
. Guitar solos spread out from guitarists Hoffman and Herman Frank through the song, a welcome addition that ends up promising big things in the following tracks.
Thankfully, "Beat the Bastards" isn't a fluke. "Teutonic Terror", the lead single of the album, is a lot stronger a song than metal singles traditionally are, and it's a damn impressive song. A nasty, chugging opening riff and bassline usher in a malevolent-sounding performance from Tornillo, and it comes together into a gem of a song.
The most surprising thing of the album is that it doesn't stumble as it rolls on. The faster and/or heavier numbers that follow, such as "The Abyss" (with a slow portion showing off Tornillo's melodic singing and the band's ability to put the foot off the gas), the title track (an anthemic song, through and through), and "Rolling Thunder" (does everything the name implies). Slower and more methodical songs, like "Shades of Death", keep up the quality, retaining a delightfully heavy touch even without the speed of "Beat the Bastards". There's no room for ballads (the closest song is "Kill the Pain", but it never falls over that line), and everything is of shockingly high quality.
Blood of the Nations
is the best Accept album in decades and one of the strongest, most inspired albums of 2010. The band sounds energized and capable, and they rock harder than bands half their age. Producer Andy Sneap deserves note, as he continues to show that he can make a band sound revitalized and heavy while sounding good
. If you like heavy metal, you owe it to yourself to get this album; Accept is back, and we can hope they're back for good.