Accept - Blind Rage

Accept Blind Rage cover
Blind Rage
Nuclear Blast
Accept continue their foray into the one-oh’s with album number three, in four years, maybe well five, because I take it, that “Blood of the Nations” didn’t exactly happen overnight, but must have taken the band a while to compose and record, prior to its release as well. Still, the constant “album-tour” cycle, would tell us that the Teutons and Yank, either feel too sure about themselves and are on some streak ore need to fulfill, some really ruthless contract. Whatever the case might be, “Blind Rage” continues, pretty much in the same way that its predecessors paved the way, with few changes and alterations along the way, more down to the nature of the material, rather than actually a change of heart or attitude really.
The new “turbo-charged” Sneap produced Accept, has all the old school charm intact, but a gigantic sound thanks to the modern, updated production techniques employed. Overall, it’s a good combination that some have lambasted as being “a bit plastic” and up to a point I might say that I might agree up to a degree, but given the fact that Sneap can almost always achieve sonically spectacular results, even at a dear premium, his services/results would obviously be preferred, over some dubious ambivalent result, of lesser known or respected producers. He doesn’t fail to give once more Accept an edge over the competition, making them, stick out like a sore thumb when compared even with iconic bands of the genre, like Priest who seemingly must have done the job largely by themselves, (only getting outside aid, where deemed necessary – and it shows)
Opener “Stampede” is riffy and furious and has a nice solo, but its chorus it a bit disappointing. Did the said “Stampede” flatten the hell out of it? In fact listening to the rest of the album made me wonder why they didn’t choose another song over it, but then, I realized, it was the only fast enough song to be the 1st single, if they wanted a “fast” single, which is probably the case – and “hands down” it’s a better song than “Trail of Tears” that would be the only antagonist.
Dying Breed” drops speed and the beat and comes down mean and ill willed, with the usual “metal warrior” cliché lyrical content that makes it super cringe worthy. I mean in the 80s – it was the actual time when “these” bands where happening. But to name check songs and to salute the “last of a dying breed” sounds a bit both sad and comical if not desperate at the same time. The main riff and theme of the song as well as the solo, save it from being a disgrace and I’m sure it might end up being a stable at live performances, but still, I found it, rather silly.
Dark Side of My Heart” is a more melodic but also a lot more generic tune, in terms of how it develops, but don’t take generic as a bad term, as it mostly refers to its main riff being possibly a bit reminiscent of some older stuff, but, over all the song in its medium tempo and sufficient exploration of dynamics seems to be a lot better than one would anticipate.
Fall of the Empire” again, takes bits of the epic that was partly explored in “Stalingrad” and again explores it, in a slow and muscular tempo that slowly builds. Along with its predecessor, this is another good song. The slower tempos seem to help the songwriting to avoid, silly derailments but where’s all that – Blind Rage – supposed to be??? I was expecting over 1000 BPM actually and a free mechanical bull with the mailorder editions!!!
While the title of Trail of Tears” had me expecting a slow and mournful track, which would have indeed been pretty boring, and detrimentally bad in the flow of the album, it’s actually a pretty flashy and fast song with impressive fretwork from Hoffman and Frank, which has the right attitude, but again falters a bit in its execution with hardly any pausing for release between the verses or a strong enough chorus.
Wanna Be Free” is a melodic – let’s hope the world unites and we’re all happy and free and united and poverty gets eradicated – and it all could happen if we all stand together. Hmm, somehow, I just fail to see that happening that, in the world where the big fish eats the small, where bombs kill children, where the richest union on the planet, has members with 30% unemployment and nothing is done, as if those people are responsible for that, or as if they are not “human” but only statistics. Decent song but...
200 Years” sounds like as if it was pulled out of “Metal Heart”, or facsimiled after it, in a way... but well not a direct copy, well fashioned in a similar way and sound, and a riff that’s close. It’s quite an achievement, actually... It stories of an alternative future, where “humanity” is wiped out… funny but who on earth, would buy the album, eh?!!
Bloodbath Mastermind” might have a soft intro with some acoustic guitars, but soon it switches to a full on attack of electric axe madness and it is reminiscent of Accept’s heroics around “Balls to the Wall” era... the chorus again isn’t like pure gold, but with all those amazing guitars and melodies and Tornillo’s super convincing “Udo” channeling on this one… well I wouldn’t complain too much!
From the Ashes We Rise” is another mid-tempo number with gang vocals this time and it’s pretty good , just because it manages in a way to channel the spirit of older Accept a bit, under this newer “hood”...
In some ways even if I never have Accept-ed, this “line-up” as a totally valid one, even if it’s a very capable one and it even has a certain good chemistry, this is probably the most Accept, album they’ve done so far...
The Curse” is a somewhat bluesy number with lots of melody and very nice guitar playing, something that “Wolf” easily excels in and Herman Frank at his side also helps a great deal with… and may I go down saying something? This is probably the best song they’ve written with Tornillo! It’s a ballad that exhibits the same idea more or less with “The Price” by Twisted Sister… is it bitterness towards a certain someone? Who knows… it’s a great song however… that’s a given.
Final Journey” is the albums closer and another smashing and rather tempestuous track, that is however a little more controlled, that say the furious opener “Stampede” that it sort of recycles a little. Also the only way I can explain the solo of this song is Wolf Hoffman decided to “troll” us all by going a little “Edvard Grieg” there for a moment! Well, others get morning wood in the morning I suppose, Wolf very possibly gets “morning mood” when he has flashbacks to Norway! Just joking badly, obviously! It’s quite a nice way to incorporate a classical piece and not the first time they’ve done it – I mean Princess had it and Wolf loves his classical stuff and even did an entire album, where his explored the stuff, which was quite interesting actually!
Those that will choose the limited editions of the album, have every reason to do so. The limited, deluxe (?) and mailorder editions include a bonus DVD or Blu-Ray. It features a complete live show, recorded in Chile 2013 during the “Stalingrad” tour. That contains the following tracks 1. Intro, 2. Hung, Drawn & Quartered, 3. Hellfire, 4. Restless & Wild, 5. Losers & Winners, 6. Stalingrad,7. Breaker, 8. Bucket Full of Hate, 9. Monsterman, 10. Shadow Soldier, 11. Amamos La Vida, 12. Guitar Solo Wolf, 13. Neon Nights, 14. Bulletproof, 15. Aiming High, 16. Princess of the Dawn,17. Up to the Limit, 18. No Shelter,19. Pandemic, 20. Fast as a Shark, 21. Metal Heart, 22. Teutonic Terror, 23. Balls to the Wall. Well that’s definitely a full show and it looks and sounds good too both in terms of video and sound as well as the band being in good form. No one said, that the line-up, is a bad one in delivering the goods, that they are more than capable of doing, very well.
Now overall, as an album, “Blind Rage” is okay, yet it is somewhat lacking in terms of “Rage”… but compensates quite a bit in terms of melody and seems to be able to get a little deeper into what it would take for Accept to find their mojo, their chemistry that without Udo Dirksneider seemed largely lost. They are on the right track to find it, but they’re not quite there, they might actually never make it back to where they were, but as long as they’re happy making music... that’s what matters, and on this album they made songs like the “Curse” and that’s a “deep” and nice “cut”.