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It's hard to believe 30 years have passed since the German metal gods Accept released their self-titled debut, and it still sounds fresh and inviting even by today's standards. This is not one of their best albums, nor does it feature many of their classic set pieces, but it was nonetheless an impressive offering in an age where hard rock was slowly transmuting into heavy metal. Like America's Riot, Accept were one of those non-English bands who could run toe to toe against the emerging NWOBHM bands like Judas Priest, Samson, and Tygers of Pan Tang. And alongside Priest and Maiden, Accept were a band to spawn 1000s of imitators, even after the passage of decades.
Naturally, my preference is for the harder rocking tracks on this album. "Lady Lou" is a solid entry track with some Van Halen swagger, and a reigned in performance from the fucking madman Udo Dirkschneider, one of the finest human beings to ever breathe air. "Tired of Me" is a scorcher with some explosive melodies and dirty ass blues edge. The ballad "Seawinds" is perhaps the album's most beloved track, a beautiful, elegaic performance. But in my opinion the best tracks on the album are the screaming, intense "Sounds of War" and the ballsy blues metal of "Hell Driver", despite the goofy lyrics.
Udo does let loose quite a few times on the album, but it's not at the air raid level of his later work (in both Accept and his solo band). It was 1979 and I just don't think the world was ready. I was ready, but I was also five years old and had little say in foreign policy. At any rate, in 2009, we are all ready to take a time capsule back to this pretty badass introduction to one of the world's classic metal bands. Hard to believe it only sold about 3k copies when it dropped!
There was a time when Accept was not considered to be groundbreaking ambassadors of European metal, a title they’ve been holding more or less since their breakthrough album Balls to the Wall. Which is okay by all means, of course; other pioneers such as Judas Priest had to wade around in obscurity for a number of years, slowly building up their reputation until they finally reached the big league. The difference between Judas Priest and Accept in their formative years, however, is that while a certain talent was evident through all of the Priest’s 70’s output (indeed, even on Rocka Rolla), one has to wonder what the hell Accept had to compete with to acquire a record deal. If this material is what made record company executives give them their chance, it goes to show that Germany was not always the underground metal paradise it’s been since the mid-80’s.
The liner notes for my edition of the album suggest that Accept’s debut brought forth a sound that Germany had never heard before, and I’ll be damned if they aren’t correct. Heavy metal had been done before, the Scorpions being the most notable band, but I’m pretty sure that the amateurish approach to hard rock and metal this album displays had been previously unheard (except from obscure demo bands of the era).
And it seems that one man is primarily responsible for making this album seem unconsciously self-parodic: The man, the myth, you guessed it, it’s Udo Dirkschneider himself! How ironic. By 1979, his transformation into Brian Johnson’s pissed-off (and superior) younger brother was only a couple of years away, but few could have predicted that by listening to this album, as there are no traces of his up and coming persona, except some sure signs of ADHD. While many of us have accepted and even embraced his inability to sing properly, his performance on this here album proves that it would really take heaps of fine-adjusting to reach that level. He screams and he groans and even tries the occasional singing, but it’s all done with little to no relation to the actual music, thus making it sound like outbursts of a badly drunken rage. And the lyrics don’t help him either; while I think they had been co-written by the whole band, they’re still some of the most silly lyrics I’ve ever read (believe me, I have had many good laughs while reading through songs like Take Him In My Heart, Glad to Be Alone and Helldriver). But while they do make Udo seem like even more of an imbecile (I mean come on, would YOU like to try and deliver those lyrics while sounding respectable? Luckily Udo doesn’t seem to bother sounding respectable), they don’t make me want to detract any points, since they bring loads of humour and not so much pretension.
The music is funny at times too, but unfortunately that is something I’m having problems with. See, as this is a debut lyrics don’t really matter, but the music matters a lot and should contain signs of promise when it’s such a huge band we’re talking about. But these songs are derivative and, for the most part, pretty bad. As far as influences go, this album owes more to early 70’s hard rock/metal, mainly Deep Purple, as the riffs in Helldriver, Free Me Now and Take Him In My Heart suggest. But as much as I admire those influences, riffs are one thing and songs are another, and at the time these boys just didn’t know how to put together a proper song. I do occasionally have these choruses stuck in my mind, but only because they’re sticky, not catchy in a pleasant way (listen to Street Fighter for more information). And I’m not even gonna mention the arrangements, since there are none to mention.
But some kind words about the material on here is also due; The worst songs are often funny in all their stupidity, and when they do get their shit together, Accept ’79 can actually write good stuff. The only consistently great song is the ballad Seawinds, with an elaborate solo section and breezy, atmospheric singing by bassist Peter Baltes (his singing was already quite nice early on). But inspirational moments include the riff and chorus of Tired of Me, the dark riffs of Sounds of War (won’t some thrash metal band cover this song? I’m dying to hear the result) and the overall guitarwork on Glad to Be Alone is really nice and bluesy. At this point in time, Wolf Hoffmann was way ahead of his bandmates in terms of technique, and his some of his solos actually show some true promise. The rest of the band isn’t really noticeable.
This album is not recommendable to anyone without a big interest in the band, and even if that applies to you, you may not find it worth your time. This album is a tiny, tiny footnote among such huge debut albums as Iron Maiden, Walls of Jericho, Black Sabbath, Melissa, etc. However, I cannot allow myself to give it a really terrible rating since I’ve already mentioned some good points about it, mainly the humour and the fact that it doesn’t sound like it was meant to be a sternly serious album (like Russian Roulette). Also, I guess that in my mind I can never truly roast these guys, I mean this is the band behind Breaker, Metal Heart, Restless & Wild, etc…
The Solingen's pride Accept finally recorded it's debut album in the late 1978. This can be recognized as a Accept album, althought it doesn't sound like one. Some Accept traditions were already formed at this time. Guitar attacks are brutal, but not brutal as they were meant to be. Udo Dirkschneider's vocals are nasty, but there isn't that classic screaming what were on future albums. Udo tries to sing, what he obviously can't do. You can't call that growling singing. He sounds much like that he's sick.
Some people love this album and some people hate this. The lack of production makes this album sound poor and light. Promising songwriting saves this piece of shit. There are some classic material here which are mostly forgotten. No songs like "Balls to the wall" or "Fast as a shark" are featured on this album. Actually only one song appeared on later tribute albums (Therion covered "Seawinds"). This was also the last album to feature original drummer Frank Friedrich, who didn't wanted to be a professional musician.
After some ambient noise, raw guitars explode in the start of "Lady Lou". After I played the record for the first time, this was the only song I remembered. It has a good chorus and singing melodies. If you can't hear any kind of solo, keep looking, it is there. "Tired of me" is a average song with good melodies, but too ordinary to be remembered for long. Accept saw bassist Peter Baltes to be a better person to sing ballads (Udo can't sing, he screams). So he sings on the third track, a gentle ballad "Seawinds", which was later the only song to be covered on a tribute album, by Therion.
Clumsily named "Take him in my heart" is not a ballad, althought it has that kind name. It's fast, maybe too fast for Udo's sniffly vocals. It also has very annoying chorus, and there's nothing to be grateful for a simply riff. Anyway, there's some nuances on Udo's vocals, nuances of that kind what made him special. But this is probably the worst of the album. "Sounds of war" starts quietly, rising volume. Song has probably the best guitar riff of the album, combided with Peter Baltes's crushing vocals and screams. One of the best songs of the album.
"Free me now" is fast and guitar riff is clever, but Udo's vocals aren't a nice thing to hear. "Glad to be alone" is a power ballad with fucking catchy guitar riff. There's plenty of solos too. The idea of Udo singing beautifully a ballad, is doomed. Imagine Udo getting drunk and then singing karaoke in some dirty bar, but with a good band on his back. This is exactly it. Udo screams in his own way, saving the rest of the song. Still this a good song of the album, mainly thanks to it's guitar riff and solos.
"That's rock 'n' roll" has actually nothing to do with ordinary and mostly boring rock 'n' roll music from the fifties. It's fast, happy and full of arrogance, with line "hey little woman Accept tonight", which can be accepted in this case, because that is more like an requirement in this kind of music. "Helldriver" is powerful with it's crushing riff, loyal to it's name. One highlight of the album is also the shortest one. The ending track "Street fighter" is very much alike to "Helldriver", with power and brutality.
Accept's first one is a potential debut. Mostly accomplished songwriting saves a lot, but there are also some tracks which shouldn't have been released. Overall promising debut, if it were produced better.