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Hugely underrated and misunderstood. - 98%

Nightlock, April 19th, 2006

I often find myself coming along bands that have released several good – great albums throughout their career then get bored and decide to take a more mature slightly different approach to their music. Accept’s sixth studio release; Russian Roulette is one of these albums. This album seems to be one of those albums most Accept fans either “love or hate” *confused*. It’s said by some that with Russian Roulette Accept became too melodic losing their hard edge in favour of deep melodic slightly poppy backing vocals and political lyrics. I agree to a point, the music is more melodic, the backing vocals also have a slightly poppy deep melodic quality to them, but! Under no circumstances have Accept lost their “Hard Edge” the opposite in fact.

The production for one thing seems to be fuller and less tinny than the band’s predecessor album (Metal Heart) was. The AC/DC influences that were in full swing on Metal Heart have also seemed to disappear, which of course is a good thing. Accept were never meant to sound like AC/DC if fact Russian Roulette would be the perfect album for a newbie to the band. It has original musical concepts that have seemed to be present in past releases but not as noticeable nah as advanced. Accept defiantly reach their peak as songwriters on this album not to mention as singular musicians; Wolf Hoffmann has some unbelievable and very unique solos and themes throughout this album. Udo and Stefan Kaufmann are others that have noticeably extended their musical abilities. Stefan using generally more groove based beats and Udo using his whole range a lot more. One thing some may not like, the songs (for the most part) have kind of a colder/slightly sad feeling to them, if you’re looking for happy sing along songs like “Midnight Mover” or “I’m a Rebel” there aren’t that much on here.

Time to talk a little bit about the songs; The album as a lot of choice heavy metal releases has a template of ten songs. Two of which are fast as hell catchy sing along numbers, Three of which are beautiful nicely assembled ballads and another five that all somewhere “in between”. Every song holds a significant part in making up the album and no songs are “fillers” as such. Although there are moments here and there that could have been done a bit differently, example the chorus for “Walking In The Shadow” there’s this great atmospherical build up pre-chorus with bells and deep choir all along with Udo shouting “I surrender…I surrender” then, all of a sudden the song moves into this goofy groove chorus “Walking in the shadow, Walking in the night”. That said it seems to be the only negative aspect of the album that comes to mind after listening to it twice before writing this review.

Russian Roulette has the fast catchy songs Accept fans have come to love like; “T.V. Wars” and “Aiming High” extremely catchy chorus: “Aiming High….Aiming High….*Deep backing vocals*”What a fight to get it right, for a minute of delight”. It has the dramatic emotional numbers like: “Russian Roulette” and “ It's Hard To Find A Way” and it has the mid paced head banger numbers such as; “Monterman” and “Stand Tight”. This is emotional, mature, intelligent, head banging, classic heavy metal! And anyone that classifies themselves a 80’s metal enthusiast that doesn’t already own this should go out and buy it straight away and prepare to be blown away by it’s true brilliance.

Sidenote: The strange thing is the first time I listened to this album it didn’t actually appeal to me at first I was hoping for an album full of songs like “Fast as a Shark”, “Restless and Wild” etc. This album isn’t Restless and Wild (Accepts other greatest relese) it doesn’t pretend to be. It’s Russian Roulette and it did take me a few listens to understand and realise it’s greatness. Give it five listens and you’ll think the same way.