Accept: Then And Now
On May 26, Accept returned to London for their first show in Britain for 24 years. Xavier Russell was on hand for the occasion, and now compares this gig to one of the band’s earliest performances in the city, at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1984 – when a couple of whippersnapper wannabe metal musicians were caught headbanging at the front!
Venue: London Hammersmith Odeon
Date: January 29, 1984
Accept’s first real commercial breakthrough album Balls To The Wall had just been released by Portrait/Epic and was a total departure to the band’s four previous studio albums. The arrival of guitarist Herman Frank (ex-Sinner) totally changed Accept’s two-pronged guitar attack to a more clinical polished metal sound.
This was, of course, what some would describe as the classic line-up: Udo Dirkschneider (vocals), Herman Frank (guitar), Wolf Hoffmann (guitar), Peter Baltes (bass) and Stefan Kaufmann (drums). Udo was a character. He could be a moody so-and-so, but when he was on form, as here, he could be one of the most commanding front menin the world of metal.
I remember standing at the back of the stalls near the mixing desk – I always found the mix was much better there. Accept were going full pelt and had just launched into the hypnotic Princess Of The Dawn when I got a tap on the shoulder. I turned round to see James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich both grinning like Cheshire cats. As it turned out, they were both big Accept fans, headbanging along to the likes of Restless And Wild, Son Of A Bitch and Flash Rockin’ Man.
When Udo announced Fast As A Shark, Hetfield was off like a hare being chased by a greyhound down to the front and headbanged furiously to this titanic teutonic tune.This is without doubt one of the classic heavy metal songs – fast, intense, powerful and considered by some to be the first speed metal song!
Seeing herren Frank and Hoffmann duelling their axes on Balls To The Wall was simply joyous. Other highlights were infectious versions of the controversial London Leatherboys and Turn Me On. Accept delivered hell. Ask James Hetfield. I saw him after the gig and he had a very sore neck – that says it all!.
Venue: London Islington O2 Academy
Date: May 26, 2010
Once again the Islington O2 Academy witnessed a truly historic moment. Back in early March it was Kiss, but tonight it was the triumphant return of the seminal German hard rockers.
I arrived at the venue early, as the band were doing an exclusive listening session for their forthcoming album Blood Of The Nations (due out on August 20, via Nuclear Blast) We were treated to eight of the 14 tracks. The album has been produced by Andy Sneap of Sabbat fame. And I must say here and now it’s an absolute barnstormer of an album. Along with Armored Saint’s La Raza, it’s the best metal album I’ve heard this year. The production is phenomenal; Sneap has done a grand job and seems to have injected a new lease of life into Accept.
New singer Mark Tornillo (formerly with power metallers T.T. Quick) commands from the off. The opening cut Beat The Bastards almost blew the speakers, as Tornillo snarled: ”Burn the bridges down!” My personal favourite was Shades Of Death – seven minutes and 33 seconds of pure bliss. A beautifully crafted metal song, with clever hooks and tasty solos from Hoffmann and Frank. I could go on, but there is a show to review.
Accept went on stage at 8:45pm and played for an intense and staggering two hours and 10 minutes. This was a new-look Accept. The aformentioned Tornillo now on vocals, Stefan Schwarzman (formerly with Helloween) on drums, and the rest of the band were as before at the Hammy Odeon in 1984. Opening up with Metal Heart, Tornillo easily filled the shoes of Udo Dirkschneider, in fact he reminded me of Brian ‘Beano’ Johnson with his gruff delivery. It really was a trip down memory lane as the devotedly partisan crowd lapped up all the old favourites such as Midnight Mover, Living For Tonight, Restless And Wild, Son Of A Bitch, Losers And Winners and London Leatherboys.
Two new numbers were also in there, namely The Abyss and Teutonic Terror, and both went down very well. But it was the oldies the metalheads craved and Accept duly delivered with rousing versions of Fast As A Shark, Up To The Limit, I’m A Rebel and Princess Of The Dawn. Encore? Of course, and it was a nice touch to see Andy Sneap guesting on guitar for the chant-a-long classic Balls To The Wall.
I actually preferred this show to the Hammersmith gig.
Accept were on fire, and with a strong comeback album should be making a lot of noise in the months to come. And when they come back perhaps could include Thunder And Lightning and Screaming For A Love Bite in their already impressive repertoire. When Blood Of Nations is released in September, buy it. You won’t be disappointed.
Suffice to say that, all in all, tonight was very Accept-like!