Review : ACCEPT – "Blood of the Nations"

AcceptBlood of the Nations
Release Date: 2010Sep18 (US)
Label: Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.5/5

Traditional metal is about to get a kick in the pants, and apparently by the cover art, has already received a punch through the guts.  I say “through” because all the German pioneers needed to do was record a decent release for their first since 1996’s Predator.  Fourteen years is quite a long time between, especially for a group that averaged an album every eighteen months in their heyday.  Not to mention that this is their first album without vocalist/founder Udo Dirkschneider, who has chosen to remain with his eponymous band, U.D.O.; replacing Udo is Mark Tornillo of the minor metal sensation TT Quick.  Yes, they could’ve simply and safely reemerged, but Accept takes absolutely no prisoners on Blood of the Nations.

“Beat the Bastards” is one of the best openers this year, bloody hands down.  Accept is clearly ready and anxious to demonstrate their chops to eager ears.  With a mean lead riff and defiant lyrics, they taunt the tentative with the jarring “Your cautious ways have spawned your nothing” and command a convincing charge on the chorus.  Then, just to remind the world they are still here, still German and still Metal, lead single “Teutonic Terror” sings of their “six string sabres…for the roar of the crowd”, because classic and/or comeback metal albums should have a mission statement.  Hell, shouldn’t every album?

I was surprised at the longest songs here, which are both around the seven-minute mark (rare for Accept).  “The Abyss” begins an apocalyptic theme that occasionally recurs throughout (see also “Pandemic” and the excellent “No Shelter”), and “Shades of Death” tells true-life accounts of the legendary New Jersey road.  Tornillo is a NJ native and likely supplied the lyrical inspiration here, which are mostly interesting, save for the barely-discernable literal narrative portion toward the end.  Mark does a good job encompassing Udo’s range, and even is able to emulate Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) on the mid-album ballad “Kill the Pain”, whose last two minutes showcase gorgeous guitar work.

That’s something else that may have helped: the return of guitarist Herman Frank.  Sure, Wolf Hoffmann handles much of the composition and, along with bassist Peter Baltes, really got Accept’s balls rolling again.  But you have to believe that playing with an old friend who was there in the early 80s helps inject at least a little youthful remembrance.  Not that Wolf needs it or anything; I have rarely seen a 50-year old guy so exuberant, and by all accounts thus far, the chemistry within the band is potent.  In the music community, Metal is strong as ever, and we may now add Accept to the list of bands with a 40+ year history still writing challenging, relevant material.  Peace indeed, Blood of the Nations is a fearless declaration of war if I’ve ever heard one.

A Best of 2010 pick!
FCC OK
Try 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 11

01. Beat the Bastards
02. Teutonic Terror
03. The Abyss
04. Blood of the Nations
05. Shades of Death
06. Locked and Loaded
07. Kill the Pain
08. Rollin’ Thunder
09. Pandemic
10. New World Comin’
11. No Shelter
12. Bucketful of Hate

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