Review Summary: No step on metal snek
Accept’s sixteenth full-length album has come with some serious upheaval. Longtime bassist Peter Baltes is gone, leaving guitarist Wolf Hoffmann as the last classic member left, and the band has taken a page from the Iron Maiden playbook by adding a third guitarist to their ranks. Those internal affairs have been unable to stop the momentum that has been chugging along since 2010’s Blood Of The Nations but one can sense the shifted dynamic on Too Mean To Die.
While the musicians’ performances come with their usual tropes, there are some subtle tweaks in the musicianship. While the guitars remain centered around hard rock struts and heavy metal chugs with a tone that’s as beefy as ever, the extra players lead to more developed leads and solos. The bass also maintains a hefty presence though the backing vocals don’t have the same fire as when Baltes was in the band. Fortunately, Mark Tornillo’s shrill bark still sounds great on his fifth album though the lyrics delve deeper into boneheaded boomerism on par with Anvil.
Speaking of which, the songwriting is still rather pedestrian despite the occasional frills. The band’s classic templates are out in full force as “Zombie Apocalypse” and the title track are charging speed metal numbers while “Overnight Sensation” and “Sucks To Be You” utilize their crass AC/DC framing and “The Undertaker” is a creepy, mid-tempo anthem. There’s plenty of energy to work with but the hooks end up with the same sense of lacking as those on 2017’s The Rise Of Chaos. On the bright side, “The Best Is Yet To Come” may be one of the band’s best ballads and the closing “Samson And Delilah” has the most intricate usage of the triple guitar format.
Overall, Too Mean To Die manages to be another solid late era-Accept album despite a few chinks in the armor. The band is able to coast by on energy alone and the lineup changes make for a couple neat quirks, but the songwriting continues the trend of diminishing returns that have come with their ultimately samey formula. One can hope that the band will find more creative exercises for their new dynamic, but more of the same looks to be the most likely. The band may never top Blood Of The Nations or Stalingrad, but fans should still find something to enjoy.
“Samson And Delilah”