This is part of an ongoing series of discovering and reviewing heavy metal bands in the order that they appear in The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal by Daniel Bukszpan. Check out the rest of the series and stay tuned for new reviews each week. Until I finish this book, stay heavy, my friends.
After digging through the bowels of the Internet to find anything by the obscure doom band Abdullah, I moved on to the wizened, well-documented German thrash band Accept. Bukszpan attributes the band’s slow catch-on in the States to the fact that their “music was simply too extreme for wussy American audiences of the day.” We’ll see about that.
As I clicked the play button on “Beat the Bastards” from their 2010 album Blood of the Nations, the opening riff made me sit up at attention. It was 80s metal with a contemporary coat of varnish: no more garbled dual-guitar riffs, no more tape hiss, and the gravelly falsetto used a bit more sparingly.
I remembered the name from an old cassette of the group’s 1985 offering Metal Heart picked up at a thrift store by my good friend and fellow metal fan Bob. At the time, we were semi-sincerely into this kind of Euro metal, and threadbare magnetic tape and the worn sprockets on which it was wound would eventually see a few mildly interested plays in the cassette decks of our high school rides. Listening back to the album today, it was again met with mild interest. “Living for Tonite” was the only real standout for me in 2016.
Beginning with a cheesy recording of a traditional German folk song — “Ein Heller und Ein Batzen” — before kicking into what would later become a landmark for speed metal, “Fast as a Shark” from the 1983 album Restless and Wild is proto-thrash, with a blazing double bass, upbeat snare groove and an awesome English-as-a-second-language-lesson title worthy of a listen.
Leaping forward from the distant, pre-my-existence days of 1983 to 2014, I clicked through Blind Rage, the band’s latest offering. The clean crunch of “Beat the Bastards” was there, and the harmonized guitar licks applied the shiny, Maidenesque glaze that put it in the Cory sweet spot. Longtime singer Udo Dirkschneider’s voice lives more in the range of Lemmy (RIP) than Bruce Dickinson, which complements the new sounds nicely. “Trail of Tears” was my preferred cut on this one.
The Bottom Line
It’s difficult to give a single grade to a band that has such a breadth of work — for me, their score improves greatly post-2009 — but it’s hard to deny their longevity. Throw a few Accept tracks in your playlist, but make sure to shuffle your library well; Udo is best served as a snack, not an entree.
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