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Heavy metal template - 86%

Felix 1666, October 2nd, 2016
Written based on this version: 1983, 12" vinyl, RCA

The prologue:
Back in 1983, the guys of Accept had already proven their great capabilities. The band had made big steps in its development. In this respect, I recommend to compare the lousy debut with "Breaker" or "Restless and Wild". Furthermore, the Germans had managed to write extremely heavy songs like "China Lady" or "Princess of the Dawn" as well as very rapid rockets such as "Starlight" or, of course this track must be mentioned here, "Fast as a Shark". In a nutshell, it was time to create the masterpiece.

The album:
"Balls to the Wall" - what can I say? It was my first album of Accept and it is still the one that I like most. The first riff of the opener / title track / larger than life monument / prototypical heavy metal song is so f**king metal that everybody was completely flabbergasted back in the early eighties. Honestly speaking, I still do not understand how the band was able to hammer out such a merciless neckbreaker. Not only the opening riff had the power to crack one's spine. The dangerous bridge with the interplay between Udo Dirkschneider and the background choir increased the dynamic significantly and the chorus appeared as a metallic ejaculation. (Guess I'm writing nonsense, nevertheless, this is nothing but the truth.) The whirlwind-like solo rounded the picture off, not to mention the furious end. A real giant, to say the least.

It is easy to praise this song, but one swallow does not make a summer. The musicians, who did not intend to surprise the world with complex song structures, were long enough in the business to be aware of this. Consequently, the following pieces provided evidence that the band had no problem to fill the longplayer with robust, vigorous and sometimes mean material. A good example for the partially malignant songs was constituted by the brutal riff of "Turn Me On". The verses offered a dark flair, while the chorus appeared once more as a moment of sexual salvation. However, the stoic bass guitar of Peter Baltes played its part successfully during the verses and the dominating mid-tempo did not result in a fairly lame piece. Don't get me wrong, it goes without saying that the band did not have a fixation about mid-paced tracks. "Losers and Winners" shifted up a gear and held also good riffs. The fact that its lyrics did not belong to the most intelligent metal poetry was of less relevance. The heavy and ageless production did not direct the listener's sight on the lyrics. It was much more fun to dedicate the full attention to the music. This applied in particular for the pretty mystic, straight and passionate "Guardian of the Night", the last outstanding song of an album without any fillers.

I may not forget to mention that the full-length did not suffer from non-metallic elements. The pretty kitschy solo of the title track "Metal Heart", the successor of "Balls to the Wall", for example, would have been a foreign body on "Balls to the Wall". Wolf Hoffmann had better things to do than to express his strange fascination for classic composers. Or he just suffered from a lack of courage. Or both... However, the metal voice of Dirkschneider and the aggressive music complemented each other in a very good manner. I am not the biggest fan of Accept's original lead singer, but he gave all to deliver a convincing performance. Only the poster of the perfectly styled band was even more convincing. In view of this picture, it was no wonder that "London Leatherboys" was understood as a tribute to the homosexual milieu.

The epilogue:
How many masterpieces does a band release in a row? Slayer say three, Forbidden say two and Doro has switched on her computer in order to google the completely unknown word masterpiece. (Nevertheless, she loves us all. Oh my God, there is so much positive energy in here!) However, the bands that are able to write an outstanding album mostly fail to deliver a worthy successor. Accept marked no exception. "Metal Heart" made clear that the band was going in the ditch. The three reasons for its downfall were blatantly obvious: money, money and money. Tragically, the group never regained its old form. "Balls to the Wall" is therefore the legacy of a band that threw away the option to be loved by the entire scene. Hoffmann and his team buried our hopes in a negligent and avaricious manner. Fortunately, this development was not predictable in 1983.

A Slight Step in the Wrong Direction - 82%

tidalforce79, January 11th, 2016

“Restless and Wild” is a monumental metal album. Accept were way ahead of the time; often thought to be a bit too heavy for their own good. Fans of “extreme” metal may disagree; however, no one who didn’t live through the album’s release can judge the impact at the time. Suffice to say, “Balls to the Wall” must have been a highly anticipated album for Accept fans.

From the very first riff, the listener will notice a substantial difference in the production. “Balls to the Wall” is far less raw than its predecessor. It appears that Accept elected to follow the path chosen by many of the more commercial bands at the time. A thick, multi layered guitar tone can be heard on top of arena rock style drums. The harsh vocals of Udo remain a staple of the band, complete with gravel gurgling and abrasive melody. On the outside, there is nothing wrong with “Balls to the Wall” as a metal album, but it lacks something as an Accept album.

The title track opens with the stereotypical Accept bludgeoning, a meaty riff that beckons all those who listen to bang their heads. The drums break in with exceptional tact, rocking the speakers and setting the tone for a catchy verse and chorus. Udo’s tortured voice is in top form on the title track-rather like a rabid dog devouring prey. Riot vocals complete the infectious chorus, keeping the listener engaged before a tasteful solo. For all intents and purposes, “Balls to the Wall” satisfies, but one cannot help but contemplate the superiority of “Fast as a Shark” as an opening track from the band’s former effort.

Problems continue in a likewise manner as album progresses. Though good, tracks such as “London Leatherboys” and “Fight It Back” are clearly inferior to the band’s earlier work. “Love Child” and “Turn Me On” lack the punch of Accept’s former glory, often seeming like filler in a way that appeals to hair metal fans. A commercial overtone haunts the album from beginning to end. Accept have never written overly complicated songs, but “Balls to the Wall” reeks of bands like Loudness or Lillian Axe; bands who are good in their own little genre, but are poor substitutes for Accept at their prime. The exact problem is hard to nail down, but perhaps Accept simply sounded better raw, or they failed to sound as fresh in late 1983 as they did in 1982.

Despite the album’s shortcomings, not all is lost. Accept continue to deliver in the solo department. Hoffmann and Frank can still shred in a melodic and technical fashion, giving the album enough Accept character to make good on the sticker price. Udo remains among metal’s most distinct and raw front men. “Losing More than You’ve Ever Had” is one of Accept’s best songs, with a painfully catchy hook that will burn itself into your brain for weeks after the initial listen. “Losers and Winners” is simply a monster of ass kicking.

These Balls Are Overrated. - 78%

Metal_Jaw, October 7th, 2011

Here they are ladies and gentlemen! The heaviest export from Germany, ACCEPT! What do you think of their most popular album, "Balls To The Wall"? "It was okay!" "I liked the one song, I guess!" "Restless And Wild was better!" The people have spoken!

Well, actually maybe it was only me, and apparently my multiple personalities, that have spoken. But frankly, I find Accept's arguably most popular album to be quite overrated and even a bit lightweight, especially given their previous accomplishment in speed metal on their previous effort, "Restless And Wild".

There's really nothing wrong wrong with this album; it's just that some of the songs are so lightweight and fluffy, even a bit corny. Of course that's like saying "Dude heavy metal is SOOOO cheesy!", but considering that Accept can do so much better in their legendary teutonic mindset, many of the songs on here raised my eyebrow upon my first listen. Songs like "Turn Me On" and "Love Child" are essentially hair metal goo neatly wrapped in a heavy metal package with their soaring guitars and driving bass covering up sappy lyrics and nothing-special drumwork. Sure the songs are well-written, with "Love Child" implying a homosexual romance or the title track a vicious story of revolution, but the final product still makes one think of something almost along the lines of, but not quite as bad as, Krokus or Dokken.

On the upside, not all the songs are bad. The kickass title track, as I said, is a gritty, even somewhat perverse, tale or revolution. The pre-chorus buildup, the ferocious gang vocals during the main chorus, shrieking guitars courtesy of Herman Frank and Wolf Hoffmann, and Udo Dirkschneider's growling vocals certainly make one want to get the fuck up and headbang against a brick wall until nothing is left but said swinging sack between one's legs. "Fight It Back" is another good one. A tad pedestrian, though a good listen if one craves a bit of speed metal. Great vocals from Dirkschneider in this one. A particular number I'm weak against is "Losers And Winners". It's fast and catchy, though it comes off a bit oddly-written thanks to the outdated concept of "writing a letter".

Overall, certainly not a bad album, but overrated thanks to the popularity of the hit title track. Beware of the hair metal- wrapped- in -a -heavy metal- box vibe of the album. Stefan Kaufmann's drumming was certainly better on other albums, but everyone else soars, particularly Hoffmann and Frank on guitars.

STANDOUTS:
"Balls To The Wall", "Fight It Back", "Losers And Winners", "Guardian Of The Night".

Accept the classics. - 91%

hells_unicorn, March 1st, 2011

Once in a while an album comes out within the metal world that is so profound that it can’t help but garner mainstream curiosity, despite that it wasn’t necessarily seeking it out. There’s always been a subtle interest in a wider audience within the broader realm of hard rock, and the spirit of 80s metal has always kept this same desire, but it’s pretty far removed from pandering. The cliché images put forth by Twisted Sister of pissed off parents shouting “Turn off that noise!!!” are an accurate depiction of how even melodic and easily accessible bands such as Accept, who were being heavily compared to AC/DC at the time, were not tailored for everybody’s ears. This sort of music might seem pretty tame compared to the purposeless profanity found in some popular forms of music today, but for its time it was pretty risqué and subversive.

“Balls To The Wall” is by no means an accidental classic, as with most well renowned albums, it finds its niche within a very basic structure. Udo might throw out some really gut wrenching screams the likes of which would give Brian Johnson pause, there’s a couple of really wild guitar solos that are way too frenzied and complex for any rock band, but this is a band of songwriters, and it shows from start to finish here. At its most complex, 4 separate guitar riffs reliant on a crunchy combination of power chord grooves and maybe an occasional flirtation with Judas Priest oriented speed metal for a song or two. This is an album defined by quality more so than quantity, which generally tended to be the rule before the rapid paced evolution that occurred in the years following this album within the broader metal world.

The common sentiment that Accept’s famed 1983 opus embodies the spirit of the 80s is an accurate one. While Udo does share a common voice character with Bon Scott and a very subtle holdover of 70s influences from earlier days, the combination of anthem-like choruses and a more aggressive guitar tone is right in line with the expanding boundaries propagated by Judas Priest and the ensuing NWOBHM. It definitely tends more towards the former’s paradigm of rock based ideas, and doesn’t venture much into the nimble, bouncing riff work common to Iron Maiden. There’s also occasional flirtations with early 80s glam in some of the acoustic work that pops in towards the closing songs of the album, though largely this is an album based around pounding mid-tempo goodness with a basic beat, a droning bass line, and full focus on the guitars.

Perhaps the most difficult matter in dealing with any classic band with a very consistent record is differentiating between their repertoire, and Accept’s post-1980 material is particularly challenging in this regard. While deserving of all the praise that is heaped upon it, “Balls To The Wall” is something of an album caught in the midst of a glorious time period for the band, lacking the extreme speed of a “Fast As A Shark” or a “T.V. Wars”, and also not quite reaching the arena level triumph of “Metal Heart”. Where this album really gets the job done is catchy songs and signature riffs. It’s no surprise that songs such as the title track and “Turn Me On” received lots of love on the radio at the time, and both songs are widely imitated by German power metal bands to this day. Likewise, faster yet equally catchy numbers like “Losers And Winners” and “Fight It Back” could easily rival equivalent classics heard on “Screaming For Vengeance”.

For all the denigration that the 80s had suffered at the hands of a number of musical outlets, including MTV and Kerrang magazine (both of whom had originally been very supportive of metal bands during the genre’s heyday); most of the best work from that time has maintained its prestige. Beavis and Butthead and all the other brainless caricatures of 90s mainstream culture can rip on these guys to their hearts content, but this is the sort of music that never dies, and the testimony of dozens of bands including Primal Fear, Gamma Ray, and Iron Savior show forth a band and an album that will be influential for decades to come. For the yet to be educated in the fine art of German heavy metal demolition, your sickness can be cured with $12 and a trip to the local music store, provided they’re stocking real stuff like this.

It will nail your Balls to the Wall... - 95%

evermetal, October 23rd, 2009

If anyone should ever ask you what on earth was and how did heavy metal sound in the early 80’s, leave aside the pointless analyses and answer him: Balls to the Wall. It is an album-gospel for metal in that decade and an everlasting heavy metal monument. This one, along with Metal Heart own the first two places in Accept discography, praised by all fans who love genuine heavy metal.

The legend of Accept had already begun to haunt heavy metal since 1981’s Breaker. Two years later Accept released an album that really kills! Without possessing something equal to Fast as a Shark, it still is countless times heavier than its predecessor Restless and Wild. Somewhat Priest-influenced, slightly dark and twisted, Balls to the Wall makes the adrenaline reach unthinkable heights with its primitive, unpolished metal.

From the heavy, sharp guitars and the war-beating drums to the unique, special vocals of Udo, everything here is like a time bomb ready to explode. The self-titled track and London Leatherboys are hymns that have stood the test of time, standing still strong and proud. They are both mid-tempo, steady songs. They have though, so damn heavy guitars and such great riffs that you can not deny their sweet, yet fatal attraction. They are like magnets, drawing you ever closer to the majesty of Accept.

The fastest songs of Balls… are Fight it Back and Losers and Winners. Their energy and aggressiveness resemble those of an air raid, with dropping bombs, aiming to obliterate everything and everyone. The guitars, like in the whole album are like machine guns, spitting fire and lead and woe to anyone who dares to resist.

Love Child, Guardian of the Night, Turn me On; which of these songs can you forget and ignore as the metal attack continues with the same strength and force? This German metal machine seems almost invincible. Pounding drums, biting riffs, incredible solos and divine heavy melodies, the lot, can be found in this masterpiece. You name it, you have it. This is a time when Accept teach the basic principles of authentic heavy metal.

In 1983, Udo and his mates would spread panic on their way. It would be a sacrilege even to think of ignoring this album, this heavy metal temple all believers should bow to. And it would be the outmost, unforgiving sin not to possess it!

Classic Metal - 95%

ManillaRoad, January 23rd, 2009

Balls To the Wall represents the peak of success for German metal stalwarts Accept. In the mid-'80s, MTV was featuring this and other Accept videos with high visibility. The song Balls To the Wall was very widely played on radio and is often found on '80s rock/metal compilations - and rightly so, as it was a powerful hit characterized by an infectious groove, catchy chorus and tight rhythmic playing in the style of AC/DC. In fact, some critics point out that Accept sound like a metal imitation of AC/DC. In some ways this is true, however Accept's own unique sound has gained a huge worldwide following and is looked on very favorably today as an innovator of the power metal genre (especially in the Euro-metal scene. In fact, two entire Accept tribute albums were released on German-based Nuclear Blast Records. A large portion of these bands are European, further illustrating the huge influence Accept have had). On several levels the sound heard on this album really did set the stage for modern day "power metal."

As for the album itself, much of it follows the same formula as the anthem Balls To the Wall: Fantastically catchy chord progressions, dual guitar attack with incredibly stylish solos, and singable choruses. Their vocalist Udo is not a great "singer" but has a very unique voice and manages to be melodic and effective in choruses like Head Over Heels, Losers and Winners, Turn Me On, Love Child, and more.

The most striking thing to me about this album, and perhaps its most underrated aspect, is the remarkable guitar playing of Wolf Hoffmann. I think every song has a solo and there a lot of prominent leads as well. Some of the top highlights musically are: 1) solo in London Leatherboys; 2) intro to Fight it Back; 3) solo in Turn Me On; 4) heavy jam at the end of Losing More Than You've Ever Had. Future guitar virtuoso Jeff Waters of Canada's Annihilator would cite Hoffmann as a large influence. Hoffman has some of the same sensibilities as a Glenn Tipton. Even his picking and use of upstrokes on particular chords add a lot to the music. If you're a guitarist I promise you it will never get boring! Peter Baltes also makes his mark on this album with some quite famous basslines found in the title track, London Leatherboys, and at the intro to Head Over Heels.

It's somewhat of a surprise that Balls To the Wall was the only major single on this record, because it's chock full of consistently great tunes. The only real balladry on the album can be found in the last track, Winterdreams, which reminds me a bit of an early Accept track "Seawinds." If you've only heard the title track and are looking to get into this band, I strongly recommend you listen to: Love Child, London Leatherboys, and Head Over Heels to get started.

Accept - Balls to the Wall - 100%

overkill666, December 28th, 2008

The year is 1971, and five German musicians decided to create a band we all know named Accept. Skipping to 1983, they released an album entitled 'Balls to the Wall', which is the album that turned me on to this band. Well, 'Balls to the Wall' is a great way to describe this album, and just a great title for it as well. This is the material that AC/DC and other mainstream heavy metal acts could not scratch the surface of.

There are many reasons why 'Balls to the Wall' is highly praised in my book. For one, the production is nice and beefy. The effected added is one of heaviness, especially on the bass side of the spectrum. Next on the bandwagon is the song writing. Well, how could you have a great album with lousy songwriting? Accept was right on the money with this one. Just about every song gets my toes tapping and my head bobbing. The musical talent is there as well. The riffage is strong throughout the release, and there are plenty of entertaining guitar solos for those people who look out for them. The bass guitar is on the higher end of the mix, which makes it clearly audible. Bass audibility for heavy metal is necessary for success. The drum work is simply good, and works out nicely. Lastly, we have the vocals. Udo Dirkschneider is a very good heavy metal vocalist. His style is a more serious clean style singing with a slight raspyness to it. Every now and then you will hear a falsetto that makes you want to sing along.

The last thing Accept has that many other bands don't have is replayability. Honestly, I could listen to this album over a handful of times and not get bored to death. They also have plenty of those universal 'metal moments' that some bands have, where many metalheads know the chorus line or a specific riff and will sing/air guitar along with it. The S/T track on this album, 'Balls the the Wall', is probably the best for this. If Accept doesn't have anything that I just mentioned, hell, they should. Maybe I'll just stick with the one-man trend hehe, a lot of people do.

After my many spins of this Accept album, I'm saddened that it took me so long to get around to check out this band. Accept is a band you should not miss, especially if you are into the good side of heavy metal. This release has strong riffage, production, and has replayability. Those attributes equal success.

Accept's Masterpiece - 100%

Wrathchild, June 8th, 2004

For me, this is the best album of this German band. Ten tracks, ten masterpieces. The music is really fantastic, the guitars are fast, the bass is strong, the drums are wild and the voice is very aggressive. All of these make this record an onslaught of Classic Heavy Metal!.

The album starts with "Balls To The Wall": a rock hymn and the most famous Accept's song. Intense and wild... awsome!. Then "London Leatherboys" is the essence of the band: pure leather and crazy Rock And Roll. Fenomenal track!. The record continues with "Fight It Back", a "speed" song that makes me remain some good times of Metallica music. Pure Old School Heavy/Speed Metal.

"Head Over Heels" is one of my favorites. A bass intro turns on a powerful but full of feelings Heavy Metal song. Peter Baltes and Wolf Hoffmann in their most important moment in this disc. Then "Lose More Than You've Ever Had" is far my favorite track of the band. It makes me remain the times when I was sad about "love troubles". Good music, great lyrics that configurate a Classic Heavy Metal song. "Love Child" is a popular song. Melodic like "Midnight Mover" from "Metal Heart" is a great Heavy/Rock song with strong guitars (Hail Wolf!) and a magnific chorus. "Turn Me On" is like "Screaming For A Love Bite" ("Metal Heart") or "Don't Go Stealing My Soul Away" ("Restless & Wild") with lyrics about sex/love, a awsome drum/bass base, two furious guitars and the unmistakable voice of Udo.

After all, "Losers And Winners", "Guardian Of The Night" and "Winterdreams" are the golden seal of this Heavy Metal's real masterpiece. These tracks are mighty and soft at the same time. The work of Wolf and Hermann is incredible. Udo, awsome. Peter and Stefan consistent like ever.

In my opinion, this disc is a great influence to the "Power" Metal genre. If you don't have this album, you must buy it and enjoy it.

More consistent, but lacks the definite winners. - 83%

Nightcrawler, June 24th, 2003

Here's another solid release by Accept, one of those classic 80s Heavy Fucking Metal bands that everyone should know about. This is a somewhat more consistent album than "Metal Heart", the album that came after it but it certainly lacks the total fucking winners like "Bound to Fail" and "Wrong Is Right" from that album, or "Fast As A Shark" from the "Restless And Wild" album.
Nonetheless, we get our fair share of asskicking on here too.

The album in general is, as usual for Accept, pretty groovy and catchy, generally going on at midpaced speed. "Balls to the Wall" features raw riffs with an excellent sense of melody combined with very catchy anthemic choruses and blistering solos- Wolf Hoffman is one of the greatest guitarists ever, delivering riffs and solos varying in speed and style but never in quality. They all completely make sense, and combines devastating aggressive notes with excellent melodic ideas, and never fail to impress. And of course, we have the vicious Bon-Scott-with-his-balls-in-a-juicemaker voice of Udo Dirkschneider. His singing is as usual incredible; raw yet with that flawless sense of melody.
The songwriting isn't quite as memorable as the album released two years later, the vocals don't flow quite as nicely, and the riffs aren't quite as well-defined, but on it's own this stands very well.

I don't really agree with what some of the other writers said about a lack of variety- every song pretty much stands out in it's own way. Some examples are the title track; a midpaced banger with an anthemic chorus, the incredibly melodic and pretty emotional "Head Over Heels", the fun and fast "Losers And Winners", the melancholic "Guardian of the Night" which also features a really cool medieval-sounding intro, and the mesmerizingly beautiful ballad "Winter Dreams".
To name song highlights would be pretty hard, as it's overall a very consistent album and no songs stand out as being especially weak. But the title track, "Winter Dreams" and "Head Over Heels" are all excellent, and do somewhat stand out among the rest.
But everything from the cheesy yet incredibly groovy and catchy "Turn Me On", to the classic rocker "Love Child" to the midpaced, upbeat "London Leatherboys" is really solid. But as already stated, this has a lack of total fucking winners that lifts the album above the crowd, and that is probably the biggest flaw on the album.
Nonetheless, this is a very solid heavy metal album and definitely worth getting, although I'd recommend getting "Metal Heart" or "Restless & Wild" first.

A classic True Metal Record! - 85%

Ayeka, November 10th, 2002

This is a straightforward, classic Metal album. My first comparison would be to a more aggressive AC/DC - first time I heard this band, seeing the video for the title track on the VH1 Friday Night Rock Show (R.I.P.), as soon as Udo Dirkschneider opened his mouth I thought "bloody hell, it's like an angry pygmy version of Bon Scott!"

By far my favourite songs on this album are the title track - a rousing, headbanging, fist-pumper with a classic solo - and the slinky London Leatherboys. Losing More Than You've Ever Had and Winter Dreams break things up a bit by adding a bit of variety to things, but despite that I'd say an overall LACK of variety is this album's only failing. Most of the songs have an almost identical feel to them...but to go back to the AC/DC comparison, that never stopped them now did it?!

I wouldn't be surprised if you'd heard the vibe about this being a bit of a homosexual album - the story goes that round about this time the Accept lads' English still wasn't quite up to scratch, so they had a female lyricist help them out. Hence you end up with songs like London Leatherboys, Love Child and Turn Me On. As I've already said, London Leatherboys turned out to be one of the best songs on the album, so any innuendo that your over-active imagination has inserted could only have worked for the better!