Album of the Week 14-2012: Accept – Stalingrad

‘Blood Of The Nations’ was the perfect comeback. ‘Stalingrad’ is nothing short of spectacular. With their new American frontman Mark Tornillo, Germany’s most influential Heavy Metal band (let’s say Scorpions are Hard Rock) seems to have had one of the strongest rebirths in the history of Pop music and although I love classic Metal tracks like ‘Princess Of The Dawn’, ‘Head Over Heels’ and ‘Metal Heart’, I like them better now than with Udo Dirkschneider fronting – and not only because of Tornillo’s better command of the English language. For those of you who thought traditional Heavy Metal was dead or at least dying these days, I was one of them, but ‘Stalingrad’ proves me wrong.

First of all, Wolf Hoffmann has always been renowned for his lethal guitar tone. ‘Stalingrad’ is the superlative in that respect. Once ‘Hung, Drawn And Quartered’ kicks off the album, it’s not only the perfect Heavy Metal riffs, but also the way they sound that makes me smile so wide that my face hurts. Andy Sneap’s production also helps; it’s obvious that he put more effort than usual into this album, because this album steers away from the presets he always hangs on to.

However, this album is not just sonically superior to everything Accept has done before. The songs on this album just simply kick ass. As mentioned before, ‘Hung, Drawn And Quartered’ is the ideal opening statement to an album that screams Heavy Metal. It sounds familiar, yet takes the Accept sound to another level. Of course it’s the Teutonic sound Accept has started and that has been copied an annoying amount of times since, but let’s face it: we’re dealing with the founders here. Accept still does this better than any third-rate German Power Metal copycat. Their choruses actually do invite to sing along, as do their guitar solos. Pounding fists in the air is optional.

Other highlights include the brilliant melodic midtempo stomper ‘Shadow Soldiers’, which vaguely reminds me of ‘Head Over Heels’. It’s probably the melancholic atmosphere and slow-gallop riffs. The album’s title track is a lesson in Heavy Metal dynamics, with the melody of the old Soviet anthem – my favorite national anthem ever – appearing near the end of the track and ‘Against The World’ is a proud anthem for Metalheads all over the world. ‘Flesh To Bang Time’ pleasantly kicks up the speed a bit and ‘The Galley’ accounts for a slightly darker take on the Accept sound, with an especially brilliant middle section. But honestly, the entire album is of consistently high quality. Even bonus track ‘Never Forget’ is every bit as strong as the rest of the album.

Accept deserves every kind of compliment they can get for ‘Stalingrad’. Even Accept themselves have never before released an album that was so consistently awesome. ‘Blood Of The Nations’ came close, but the larger amount of variation makes ‘Stalingrad’ a more pleasant listen. In addition, the album puts many bands so obviously influenced by Accept where they belong: in their shadow. Buy if you like Heavy Metal. That’s not a recommendation, that’s an order.

Recommended tracks: ‘Shadow Soldiers’, ‘Hung, Drawn And Quartered’, ‘The Galley’

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