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Analog Men - 84%

Larry6990, August 12th, 2017

The words ‘veteran’ and ‘stalwart’ are thrown around far too often in the metal community – apparently applying to any band who’s been consistent for more than five years. However, Accept, needing no introduction, are true carriers of that title. Since the late 1970s, these German rockers have brought us no-frills heavy metal and a balls to the wall (couldn’t resist!) attitude that is almost unrivalled in major circles. Their most recent incarnation revived itself in the late 2000s and has been on a winning streak ever since, with such ambitious and hard-hitting albums as Blood Of The Nations and Stalingrad. Here in 2017, the teutonic terrors return with The Rise Of Chaos; a direct follow-on from 2014’s Blind Rage both in style and atmosphere. As many true veteran acts have shown recently, age has absolutely no effect on the quality of music one can produce – and Accept are proving their relevance by being part of the enormous Nuclear Blast payroll.

The immortal Andy Sneap is still behind the mixing desk, ensuring The Rise Of Chaos sounds absolutely top notch and his beautiful mix only emphasizes the talent on display. Sadly, this is the first record in quite a while without the stringwork of long-time guitarist Herman Frank – but newcomer Uwe Lulis joins the crazy antics of Wolf Hoffmann, fusing together like a metal machine. Riffs are strong, and solos are a-blazing! The driving “Race To Extinction” and, even more so, the opener “Die By The Sword” are proof of both Uwe and Wolf’s riff-writing credentials. Just check out the 0:39 mark in the title-track: what a wonderfully brutal half-time moment! I can’t think of a better way to open an Accept album than “Die By The Sword”. Just as 2014’s “Stampede” amped up the excitement before crushing the listener with a stunning riff, the game hasn’t changed.

The familiar gruffness of Mark Tornillo proves he was the best man to spearhead the band’s return to the fold in 2009. The Rise Of Chaos sees him hitting stratospheric high notes, usually layered on top of the chorus, but occasionally sparking out of a verse to perk the listener up. When backed up by the gang vocals, his voice really adds the fun factor to anthemic choruses like “Hole In The Head” – my personal favourite track which can almost match “Balls To The Wall” in terms of attitude. Trust me, within five minutes of this disc grinding to a halt, you’ll have ‘I neeeeed you! LIKE A HOLE IN THE HEAD!’ on repeat in your mind! A close runner up is the rapid headbanger “No Regrets”, with its creative riff and fist-pumping stop/start verses. I was wary of the unusually titled “Koolaid”, prejudging it as one of those ‘edgy’ songs that older acts have been relying on recently to get ‘down with the kids’ (yes I’m looking at you, Majesty…). However, its scathing attack on cultist ideals is praiseworthy indeed.

For a traditional heavy metal band, this is even lyrically impressive. Apart from the surprising “Koolaid”, the attitude towards global issues on “Carry The Weight” is unique, bordering on the humorous! And even the perceived ‘dad rock’ sensibilities of “Analog Man” are delivered in such a tongue-in-cheek way, it’s impossible to resist. These guys know they’re old – and it’s worth laughing at themselves every once in a while! Gotta love that fading dial-tone after the last chord! Accept are a German institution who fully deserve the label ‘veterans’ – and subsequently should be beyond any qualms over musical quality. They’re an establishment we can firmly rely on to deliver the heavy metal goods over and over again. The Rise Of Chaos doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it rolls the wheel down a beaten track and whams its balls firmly against the wall.