I have never been more excited for an album even before listening to it than the new Accept album ‘Blind Rage’. I have been keenly following all the interviews and other promotional activities leading to its postponed release. All the interviews of the band members suggested that the new album is going to be more ‘Classical’ sounding and the band was going back to its original sound reminiscent of ‘Balls to the Wall’ era, but secretly deep inside I was hoping for a much heavier and faster album than the last one, only to be later dissapointed on that front. Not many bands actually achieve more success after their original lead vocalist quits the band, but such has been the story of these metallers that this album is almost like a new chapter in their history.
In any case, I could only listen to the album a week ago and since then I have listened to it atleast a dozen times. With the kind of style I expected, I was little disappointed initially, but the more I listened to it the more the album as a whole grew on me. When the band members say that they are taking a ‘Classical’ root, I find that they actually meant that they mellowed down a bit and have given more importance to the rhythm and the riffs than the speed. Here’s where the album’s title ‘Blind Rage’ and even the album cover art are actually misleading!
Dont get me wrong, you will still hear all the trademark Accept style riffage and anthemic vocals, but the intensity is just mellowed a bit. While the listener is still treated to the crying and screaming vocals of American Mark Tornillo backed with the anthemic vocals, the drums and the bass fail to bring anything new to the table, but that doesnt affect the sound of the album by much. Mark recording his 3rd album with the band seems more comfortable than ever on this record and any doubts by hardcore Udo fans by now would have already sinked.
The album starts of with fast paced songs like ‘Stampede’ and ‘Dying Breed’, the latter which brings together all the good things Accept has been known in its 3 decades of existence. As mentioned above by the time I write this review I have invariably listened to this record more than a dozen times and the album has grown on me slowly and I find ‘Dark Side of My Heart’ and ‘Fall of the Empire’ to be the most impressive songs of the album even though they are mostly of mid tempo, but because they are melodic and have the best feel of all the songs. They are catchy and have hummable lyrics.
While ‘Trail of Tears’ is a much faster song and has more room for the screaming vocals of Mark Tornillo, ‘Wanna Be Free’ is captivating lyrically, as it speaks about human trafficking, global violence and poverty. Its hard not be in tears the first time anyone listens to this song, and this is where, as mentioned earlier, ‘Blind Rage’ as an album is much different from any of the previous Accept works. Both Wolf Hoffmann and Herman Frank really prove again that they are still game for being the best axemen in the metal world and blast relentless Accept style riffage throughout the album.
Sadly few songs like ‘200 Years’, ‘From the Ashes We Rise’ and ‘Final Journey’ dont offer anything interesting. While they arent bad songs by any means, they are nowhere close to the standards set by the other songs offered here like ‘Bloodbath Mastermind’ and ‘The Curse’, both capable of being revolutionary anthems single handedly. ‘The Curse’ is another lyrics driven song and has all the trademark Accept riffs. Some of the lyrics are very emotional like this:
“Yes I realize its just a fact of life
Nothing’s ever really free
And if I ever have to I will probably pay the price, nothing’s ever really free
We can’t skip our destiny
It’s the curse of being good, it’s the curse of doing right”
The album ends with an interesting song in ‘Thrown to the Wolves’ reminiscent of the sound the band’s previous albums with Mark and in many ways is a great finish to a great album.
While the production by Andy Sneap is just fine, its the lyrics here that makes a major difference to the album, and compensates for the lack of the album’s heaviness. The lyrics are not just hummable, but are philosophical and emotional too. Its the kind of lyrics I will be singing every day and night and are actually easy to grasp.
Its easy to bash albums by bands in their 3rd decade, but Accept tries to reinvent themselves rather than the whole wheel itself and die-hard fans of Accept will be pleased, but this album falls short of captivating the non-Accept fans, unlike the band’s previous records. ‘Blind Rage’ also clears any doubts that may have arised about the Teutonic thrash scene which is well past its maturity period, and underlines the fact Accept still has the ‘Metal Heart’ to keep its fans interested in them.