ACCEPT – Debaser Medis, Stockholm 2014-09-30

Wolf & HermanSo, there I was at home in front of my computer and logged in to Facebook when I spotted an ad that said that German metal hearts Accept were about to play a gig in Stockholm that night. I also spotted a few friends’ comments on the fact that they were about to attend the show. Damn, I thought, I also wanted to see the band in action. However, I didn’t have a ticket and quite frankly, I have had little sleep the last few nights and I was just too tired to bother. Besides, money was tight so I though I had to sit this one out. Instead, the gym was my goal and on my there, my phone rang. It was a friend of mine saying: “Hey man, wanna go the Accept gig tonight? I’m on the list and I can bring you along”.  I wasn’t gonna turn that one down no matter how tired I was, so after an hour at the gym and a shower, I met up with my company for the night for a burger and a beer before heading down to the show. When we got there, some opening act which I don’t remember the name of, was playing and to be honest, the little I heard didn’t impress me much. Some kind of thrash / speed metal was their music of choice, but I can be wrong as the sound was really bad and I couldn’t be arsed to watch them for more than a couple of songs. The reunited version of Accept – with American singer Mark Tornillo replacing iconic singer Udo Dirkschneider has just released their third album, the magnificent Blind Rage and its predecessors Blood Of The Nations (2010) and Stalingrad (2012)  has proved the band as force to be reckoned with, writing high quality songs that are Accept all the way. I have seen the band with this line-up live on two occasions before and they have blown me away completely both times. The fact that a huge personality like Udo Dirkschneider isn’t missed one bit really speaks volumes. This, of course, makes for some really high expectations and if the band plays one gig not 100% focused, it will be looked upon as a failure, even though they might have played a really good gig by normal standards.

The band opened with the new album’s opener “Stampede”. Now, that song was a big reason I didn’t give the album a 10/10 rating, not because the song is bad, but because it’s just not that strong. But live, the song is given a new life and it works perfectly as a opener even though I could have suggested a few oldies that I might have prefered. But the song’s pumping rhythm and simplicity gets the audience worked up right on the spot. “Stalingrad” and “Hellfire” follows and even though the former is a live killer, the latter is one song that could have been replaced. It’s not bad, but the reaction from the crowd showed that the song is disposable. “200 Years” from the new album gets a much better reaction and the band sounds real tight. Also, the backing vocals from Wolf Hoffmann (guitar), Peter Baltes (bass) and Herman Frank (guitar) is astonishing. As a matter of fact, it almost sounds too good and the way Frank’s mouth looks when he sings, I suspect backing tracks, but I won’t swear on it. “Losers And Winners” is a lost gem from Balls To The Wall (1983) and by the crowd’s reaction, it wasn’t just me that was really happy to get that one. “London Leatherboys”, also from Balls, is a favourite and a classic Accept track that tears the walls down before the overrated “Starlight” (Breaker, 1981) makes me wonder why on earth they decided on playing it as the only song from their breakthrough album. “Dying Breed” is one of the best songs off the new album and it goes down very well, but the brilliant “Final Journey” – also from the new album – seems to leave most of the crowd confused, almost like they didn’t know the tune at all. “Shadow Soldiers” from Stalingrad gets a great response and the new album’s “From The Ashes We Rise” goes down like a storm before “Restless And Wild” brings the roof down. What a fantastic song it is. Also, it was nice to hear the whole song this time. Accept usually cuts the song by half when they do it live, for some reason. “Ahead Of the Pack” might seem like a weird choice, but to me it was a reminder just of how great that song really is – and it killed live. “No Shelter” is a decent track from Blood Of The Nations, but there are so many better songs, even on that album and I really don’t get why the chose it for their live set. But when they kicked their classic “Princess Of The Dawn” into gear, all that was forgotten. What a live killer that one is. “Dark Side Of My Heart” is song no. 6 from the new album and it’s really mind-blowing just how great response the new songs gets. “Pandemic” is perfect in a live situation and one of the great songs from Blood – works like a charm. No Accept gig is complete without “Fast As A Shark” and as usual, the whole crowd sings along to the “Hi-di-hi-do-hi-da” intro before one of the heaviest and fastest metal tracks ever breaks loose. The song was released in 1982 and must have influenced many thrash and speed metal bands around the world. After that it was thank you and good night.

Of course, we get an encore and as usual, “Metal Heart” is the first song out. Unless you have lost all sense of rhythm, you really can’t stand still to that song. Talk about a hard-core metal groove. Also, the crowd gets to sing along to Hoffmann’s “Für Elise” guitar solo. “Teutonic Terror” picks up directly and the song – taken from the Blood album – has turned into a modern Accept classic, never to be left out of their set list – hopefully. “Balls To The Wall” is the last song of the night and the already wild crowd goes completely ape over this one. To say that Accept had the crowd in their hands must be the understatement of the year, it’s really, really cool that a bunch of metal heads in their mid-fifties still can be such a strong force to be reckoned with and that they have a new life without their iconic ex-lead singer. Fact is, Accept sounds so fresh and vital, I think that – after seeing Udo live in recent years – the band really benefits from having Tornillo as their frontman. Again, Udo isn’t missed one bit. However, I have a thing or two to say about their choice of songs. No less than 12 out of the 21 songs played this night are taken from their three latest Tornillo-fronted albums. A brave move that shows that Accept aren’t a nostalgia act by any means and in most cases it works splendidly. But there are songs that they should think twice about playing, especially when it means that there are classics that has to be left out because of them. “Hellfire”, “No Shelter” and strange enough, “Final Journey” could easily have been replaced and to play only “Starlight” from such a classic album like Breaker? No, guys, not ok. No “Son Of A Bitch”? No “Breaker”? That also meant that an underrated album like Russian Roulette (1986) was completely ignored. Other than that, I have no complaints at all. Live it also becomes very clear that Accept is Hoffmann’s and Baltes’ band now. Tornillo is a killer, but unless he sings, he keeps in the background and Herman Frank takes no place at all. He gets very few solo spots in the songs and he has his place way back on the stage. Nothing that matters in the end, though, because Accept truly delivers the goods and if you were ever a fan of this band, DO NOT miss them if they play your town. I will not even think about being too tired to attend an Accept gig ever again!

Jon Wilmenius (9/10)

Setlist.

1. Stampede
2. Stalingrad
3. Hellfire
4. 200 Years
5. Losers And Winners
6. London Leatherboys
7. Starlight
8. Dying Breed
9. Final Journey
10. Shadow Soldiers
11. From The Ashes We Rise
12. Restless And Wild
13. Ahead Of The Pack
14. No Shelter
15. Princess Of The Dawn
16. Dark Side Of My Heart
17. Pandemic
18. Fast As A Shark

19. Metal Heart
20. Teutonic Terror
21. Balls To The Wall

 

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2 comments on “ACCEPT – Debaser Medis, Stockholm 2014-09-30

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