By Patrick Prince
Nuclear Blast Records (2846-2)
Balls to the wall, man! Sorry to use an exclamation from Accept’s most popular song as a way of describing the power of the band’s newest release, but it does concisely sum it up.
“Stalingrad” has a lot of classic-sounding Accept guitar — dual-guitar melodies, charging riffs, cutthroat leads — matched to the appropriately rough vocals of Mark Tornillo … just a lot of brilliant stuff that the traditional metalhead will really cherish.
“Flash to Bang Time” and the opening “Hung Drawn and Quartered” are the standout tracks here — power metal that could have easily appeared on the band’s early ’80s masterpieces, “Breaker” and “Restless and Wild.” Throughout the band’s career, guitarist Wolf Hoffmann is a master at blending melodic licks to chugging metal riffs. It’s his artistic stroke of genius, and it shines richly here.
The bonus song titled “Never Forget” is the weakest of all “Stalingrad’s” studio compositions. Since it’s a “bonus song,” let’s pretend it’s not there. It’s good to a certain degree, sure, but clearly forgettable next to the real track listing.
It once seemed that Accept would never be able to replace its former singer, Udo Dirkschneider, when he officially left the band. Remarkably, it has with Tornillo (formerly of New Jersey’s TT Quick). In a bit of serendipity, Tornillo showed up by chance a few years ago and has rejuvenated this great band. This makes two great albums under his belt. Let’s hope there are more to come.
— Patrick Prince