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Accept – Stalingrad [Review]

Accept – Stalingrad
( 2012, Nuclear Blast Records)

1. Hung, Drawn And Quartered
2. Stalingrad
3. Hellfire
4. Flash To Bang Time
5. Shadow Soldiers
6. Revolution
7. Against The World
8. Twist Of Fate
9. The Quick And The Dead
10. The Galley

Band:
Mark Tornillo – Vocals
Wolf Hoffmann – Guitar
Herman Frank – Guitar
Peter Baltes – Bass
Stefan Schwarzmann – Drums

Producer: Andy Sneap

A reinvigorated Accept continues to storm through the world pummeling everything in sight with their old school heavy metal tank of destruction. Bringing Mark Tornillo into the was a stroke of genius as he really sounds right at home backed by one of Germany’s best and heaviest metal masters.

Although I didn’t find Stalingrad to hit me as immediately as the pummeling Blood of the Nations did, this album is essentially “Blood of the Nations, Part 2”, even if it is a bit more melodic. In the end though, I would rank this album to be every bit just as pleasurable as Blood of the Nations. Make no mistake that Stalingrad is no-frills traditional pounding heavy metal and it’s legitimate (i.e. they actually helped to create the genre and aren’t just ripping it off 30 years later) that we should all be thankful for.

Lap it up while you can, who knows how much longer the old masters can continue to crank ’em out like this?

Highlights: “Hung, Drawn And Quartered”, “Stalingrad”, “Hellfire”, “Flash To Bang Time”, “Shadow Soldiers”, “Twist of Fate”, “The Quick and The Dead”

http://www.acceptworldwide.com/
http://www.facebook.com/accepttheband

Buy ‘Stalingrad’ at Amazon.com

Looking Forward to in 2012…

2012 is shaping up to be another spectacular year for rock music. This is a year that is going to see releases from KISS, Judas Priest, Aerosmith, Van Halen and Black Sabbath. WHAT YEAR IS THIS ?!?

In no particular order, here’s what I’m definitely picking up in 2o12:

AcceptStalingrad (April)
Accept really blew me away with Blood of the Nations. The band has proven there is life without Udo. In fact, I think many people would prefer the current line-up over the classic Accept roster at this point.

Crazy Lixx – Riot Avenue (April)
These solid modern glam-metallers are currently in the studio working on their 3rd album.

KISS – Monster (Spring)
Obviously, this is the album I’m looking forward to most. Sonic Boom was a triumphant return to the studio for these guys, now that the wheels are well-oiled, I think Monster has potential to be even better.

SunstormEmotional Fire (February)
I missed out on the last Sunstorm despite good reviews. In the past year I’ve come to appreciate AOR/melodic rock more so I think I’m going to try out this Joe Lynn Turner-fronted side project when it’s released.

Crashdiet
No date yet set by these sleaze rockers but they are supposedly in the writing process now. I’m guessing sometime in the Fall.

Black Sabbath (Fall/Winter)
Another highly anticipated album for me because I’m really curious what it’s going to sound like. I’m not a big Ozzy fan, either as a solo artist or in Sabbath. I’d much rather see Iommi w/ Geezer go on to new projects (Iommi needs to give Tony Martin another call) but I still will be pre-ordering this one. My expectations aren’t all that high though given who is singing. I feel like he and Sharon are going to bring everyone else down to his mediocre level. Still, it’s exciting to know that new Iommi riffs and solos are coming.

Aerosmith (May)
So much prima donna drama in this camp over the last 5 years or so but hopefully that’s gone long enough to give us a new album. Granted,  I don’t really expect much from these guys in terms of, well… anything anymore. They’re kind of a joke at this point but with the legendary Jack Douglas back on as producer, I have no doubts that he’ll drag something out of them that’s better than the last studio album (2001’s Just Push Play).

Van Halen (February 7)
Geez, it was starting to look like the new Chinese Democracy, wasn’t it? No album title has been released yet but a release date has been and the first single will be released on January 10. Van Halen is another band that has become a joke over the years (despite the last tour getting rave reviews) but I have a good feeling about this album. The first album with Roth since 1984 and 1984! Rumored titles have been The Future and 2012 but I don’t think either will turn out to be true. Maybe IV though..?

Judas Priest
The band hasn’t definitely said a new album is coming in 2012 but they’ve been working on new material for a while now and seem to be looking at 2012 for releasing it. It’s a different songwriting dynamic now though. Instead of Halford/Downing/Tipton, it’s just Halford/Tipton. By all accounts, new guitarist Richie Faulkner is carrying his weight in a live setting so I think the album is going to turn out quite good. I do think it’s time the band delivers a straight ahead metal album though. Angel of Retribution and Nostradamus were good but not excellent. The band really hasn’t given the world that kick-ass classic metal album that they should’ve already done since Halford has come back. They really need a PainkillerHell Bent for Leather or British Steel at this point and keep it simple.

Primal Fear – Unbreakable (late January)
I have heard this album. It’s good. Plan on reviewing it soon.

Mollo/Martin – The Third Cage (late January)
See above. It’s great to have a new album out with Tony Martin on vocals.

Buckcherry
Maybe wishful thinking on my part but they were working on new material this past summer so hopefully something new will appear by next summer.

The Last Vegas The Other Side
No date announced yet but they recently released the free digital Other Side E.P. so I’d imagine we’ll have the new album by the spring.

Slash
His first solo album was one of the best records from the last few years and this time, Myles Kennedy is singing all the songs. Everything is written, all that’s left to do is record the songs so I’m guessing spring for this one as well.

Trans-Siberian OrchestraRomanov: What Kings Must Whisper
The second non-holiday from TSO, it was actually planned to be their first album way back in 1994 but they held on it while trying to get a Broadway musical out of it first. Night Castle was dark and cool while still keeping that trademark blend of metal, rock and classical music, I expect more of the same here.

Dokken
With a deal in place with Frontiers Records for the new album, I’m expecting something special despite never being a huge Dokken fan. Lightning Strikes Again was good enough for me to be interested in a follow-up. The plan, as of this past November, was to have recording completed by February.

Stryper
This album was actually delayed from this past year in favor of recording and releasing the excellent The Covering album of cover songs. According to Michael Sweet, two albums are in the works: the first will be an album of re-recordings (Why? Can we stop this trend, please?)  followed by an album of all-new material written in the same heavy, edgy vein as “God” from The Covering.

M-Pire of Evil
M-Pire of Evil is the renamed Primevil which itself was the reunited late ’80s/early ’90s line-up of Venom that featured Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan on vocals/bass . I’m not well-versed on the comings and goings of the Venom roster but the “classic” line-up is split into two different bands right now. Conrad “Cronos” Lant is leading Venom with a few newer guys while the other two “classic” members (Jeff “Mantas” Dunn & Anthony “Abaddon” Bray) have hooked up again with Dolan for M-Pire of Evil.

They released an EP this past summer called The Creatures of the Black, which was pretty good and I liked the Prime Evil album (the only Venom release I’ve heard from this line-up) so I’m looking forward to a full length album. I couldn’t find anything resembling a release date but going by the band’s Facebook page, it should be soon because they’ve been teasing releasing the album cover.

Tooth And Nail (March)
The band that features 3/4 of the classic Dokken line-up. How does “Wild” Mick Brown still retain a position in Dokken while joining Tooth And Nail? Given Don Dokken’s reputation, you’d think he’d have been fired from Dokken by now. I mean, this band was named after a Dokken album and they’ve gloated over the fact that Don Dokken isn’t in the group (bassist Jeff Pilson will handle vocals). What’s weird is that on the band’s Facebook page, they list current Whitesnake drummer Brian Tichy as a member as well… I guess he’s there for the live shows in case Brown has to go off and play in Dokken?

I’m probably forgetting a few more albums but oh well!

The Metal Excess Awards: 2010 Edition

I’m really surprised by how many albums I enjoyed this year. I have a pitiful memory so I had to go back through my blog to remind myself what came out this year but I was floored when my Top 10 list was changed to a Top 20 list, then to a Top 30 list! I knocked it back down to a Top 25 list to make it seem a tiny bit more exclusive.

If you haven’t checked out any of these 25 albums, I wholeheartedly recommend you do so. 2010 was an amazing year for rock & metal, much MUCH better than 2009. I don’t see how 2011 can compete!

I’ll keep it short and sweet with my awards. As always, check the links for full reviews.

Best Albums of 2010

1. Avenged Sevenfold – Nightmare
2. Buckcherry – All Night Long
3. Scorpions – Sting in the Tail
4. Halford – Made of Metal
5. Slash – s/t
6. Black Country Communion – s/t
7. Avantasia – Angel of Babylon
8. Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony
9. Accept – Blood of the Nations
10. Hinder – All American Nightmare
11. Jettblack – Get Your Hands Dirty
12. Reckless Love – s/t
13. Bad City – Welcome to the Wasteland
14. Stone Temple Pilots – s/t
15. Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier
16. Krokus – Hoodoo
17. Helloween – 7 Sinners
18. Sister Sin – True Sound of the Underground
19. My Darkest Days – s/t
20. Stereoside – s/t
21. Y&T – Facemelter
22. Danko Jones – Below The Belt
23. Grave Digger – The Clans Will Rise Again
24. Jon Oliva’s Pain – Festival
25. Ratt – Infestation

Top Cover Albums

Seems like every year a few established artists like to cover a few *other* established artists, not to mention all those various tribute albums that small labels will slap together. Well, here’s my official ranking of the three cover albums I bothered to listen to this year. Luckily, all three albums were good fun and I think they all deserve another mention.

1. Jorn – Dio
2. Vince Neil – Tattoos & Tequila
3. Joe Elliott’s Down ‘N’ Outz – My ReGeneration Vol. 1

Top Live Albums

Again, I don’t buy a lot of live albums, but here’s how I rank what I listened to this year.

1. Dio – Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987
2. Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven & Hell – Live In Europe
3. Megadeth – Rust In Peace Live
4. The Michael Schenker Group – The 30th Anniversary Concert: Live in Tokyo

Top EPs

1. Razorwyre – Coming Out
2. Skull Fist – Heavier Than Metal
3. DesDemon – The Awakening

Most Disappointing Albums

1. Ratt – Infestation
The album was good, don’t get me wrong. It landed at #25 on my Best Of list for Dio’s sake! But… most of the songs had trouble living up to the promise of “Eat Me Up Alive” and “Best Of Me”.

2. Armored Saint – La Raza
A bland album from a band that has done so much better. They seemed to be going through the motions (to which John Bush has basically admitted in regards to himself). Symbol of Salvation this ain’t.

3. White Wizzard – Over The Top
The High Speed GTO EP garnered this group a lot of hype and buzz. We all fell for it, I know reviews for this album have been positive and it’s not bad but I expected more. Hopefully a second album will get these guys where they need to be.

4. Raven – Walk Through Fire
The terrible cover art should’ve tipped me off that this album was nothing special.

 

Check out these other sites for even more lists and year-end awards:

All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/

Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/

Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/

Hard Rock Hideout — http://hardrockhideout.com/

Hard Rock Nights — http://hardrocknights.wordpress.com/

Heavy Metal Addiction —  http://heavymetaladdiction.com

Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/

Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/

Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/

The Metal Minute — http://rayvanhornjr.blogspot.com/

Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/

The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/

 

Accept – Blood Of The Nations

Accept – Blood of the Nations (2010, Nuclear Blast Records)

1. “Beat the Bastards” … 5:24
2. “Teutonic Terror” … 5:13
3. “The Abyss” … 6:53
4. “Blood of the Nations” … 5:37
5. “Shades of Death” … 7:32
6. “Locked and Loaded” … 4:28
7. “Time Machine” … 5:25
8. “Kill the Pain” … 5:47
9. “Rolling Thunder” … 4:54
10. “Pandemic” … 5:36
11. “New World Comin” … 4:50
12. “No Shelter” … 6:04
13. “Bucket Full of Hate” … 5:12

Band:
Mark Tornillo – Vocals
Wolf Hoffmann – Guitar
Herman Frank – Guitar
Peter Baltes – Bass
Stefan Schwarzmann – Drums

Producer: Andy Sneap

From out of nowhere (well, Germany) comes one of the year’s best albums! Man, my indifference towards Accept is well-documented but this is one KILLER heavy metal album! When I heard T.T. Quick frontman Mark Tornillo was filling in for Udo Dirkschneider (who respectfully declined to reunite with his old band mates), I was mildly curious. T.T. Quick’s Metal of Honor is one of my favorite albums and Tornillo has a great voice so that really put this album on my want list. Had it been some unknown singer, I may have never given this album a shot. Surprisingly, nearly 25 years later, Mark is singing with as much power and fury as ever.

This album is a triumphant return for the band. Even without their lead singer, they managed to break into the Billboard 200 with this album (#187) when their three ’90s albums with Udo did not. In addition to the minor chart victory, rave reviews are coming in from all over the world. It’s amazing to think this band has been chugging along (on and off) since the late ’70s because they are as fast and as heavy as they have ever been. This is such a powerful old school heavy metal album and I would like to add my name to the list of people that say Andy Sneap should produce the next Metallica album!

I really don’t have much more to add. I’m obviously enjoy the heck out of this album. It’s 100% balls to the wall (if you’ll pardon the phrase) HEAVY METAL. Any serious metal fan should own this one and although old school Accept fans will probably want to hang me for this — this is the best Accept I’ve heard yet! \m/

I’m not sure how true this is, but I’ve seen some sites list “Time Machine” as a bonus track for the digipak version of the album, which is the version I own. On the packaging, I don’t see any reference to it being a bonus track.

Highlights: “Beat the Bastards”, “Teutonic Terror”, “The Abyss”, “Blood Of The Nations”, “Time Machine”, “Kill The Pain”, “Pandemic”, “New World Comin'”

http://www.acceptworldwide.com/
http://www.facebook.com/accepttheband
http://www.myspace.com/accepttheband

Looking Forward to in 2010…

2009 was good, can 2010 be better? With these albums penciled in for 2010 it looks like we’ll have another good year for rock ‘n’ roll because there’s tons I’m looking forward to! I’ve listed tentative release dates where I could.

Ratt – Infestation (March): Ratt is one of the best bands to spring from the L.A. metal scene, I can’t wait to hear some new music from that.

Scorpions – Sting In The Tail: Well, hopefully we’ll see some new Scorpions. They haven’t gotten a U.S. distribution deal yet, but in this day of the internet, I don’t foresee any problems getting my hands on an import. According to the band, they’re going back to their “early ’80s” sound and scrapping the modern style they had on Humanity: Hour I. That’s a shame because I remember Klaus Meine being pretty adamant about the band not writing anymore “eighties” songs and I like Humanity a lot (which seemed to imply there’d be a sequel). Oh well, I liked 2004’s Unbreakable a lot too (the band’s most recent attempt at having that classic Scorpions sound), so either style they want is good with me.

Avantasia – The Wicked Symphony & Angel of Babylon (April 3): Edguy’s Tobias Sammet, one of my favorite vocalists, is back with his side project and he’s got two albums coming at us at once on the same day. The Scarecrow was really good and Sammet has tons of guest musicians lined up again, I just hope he hasn’t spread himself too thin by releasing two albums’ worth of material.

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ACCEPT – Metal Heart

Accept – Metal Heart (1985, Portrait Records)

1. “Metal Heart” … 5:19
2. “Midnight Mover” … 3:05
3. “Up to the Limit” … 3:47
4. “Wrong Is Right” … 3:08
5. “Screaming for a Love-Bite” … 4:06
6. “Too High to Get It Right” … 3:47
7. “Dogs on Leads” … 4:23
8. “Teach Us to Survive” … 3:32
9. “Living for Tonite” … 3:33
10. “Bound to Fail” … 4:58

Band:
Udo Dirkschneider – Vocals
Wolf Hoffmann – Guitars, Electric Sitar, Backing Vocals
Jörg Fischer – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Peter Baltes – Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Stefan Kaufmann – Drums

Produced by: Dieter Dierks

Balls to the Wall is Accept’s best album, but this would be my second favorite. It’s a lot more accessible and pop-metallic than the pure heavy metal thunder of Restless and Wild and that’s probably why I like it so much. Restless and Wild was heavy, Balls to the Wall was heavy, melodic & commercial, and Metal Heart goes even more commercial and melodic.

“Metal Heart” is the most aggressive song here and the obvious standout but who can resist the pop metal of “Midnight Mover” and “Screaming for a Love-Bite”? I’m not sure where I stand on “Teach Us to Survive”. It’s like some jazzed up version of theme that you might hear from a 1960s spy show.

Highlights: “Metal Heart”, “Midnight Mover”, “Wrong Is Right”, “Screaming for a Love-Bite”, “Too High to Get It Right”, “Living for Tonite”

www.acceptworldwide.com

ACCEPT – Restless and Wild

Accept – Restless and Wild (1983, Epic Records/Portrait Records)

1. “Fast as a Shark” …  3:49
2. “Restless and Wild” … 4:12
3. “Ahead of the Pack” … 3:24
4. “Shake Your Heads” … 4:17
5. “Neon Nights” … 6:01
6. “Get Ready” … 3:41
7. “Demon’s Night” … 4:27
8. “Flash Rockin’ Man” … 4:28
9. “Don’t Go Stealing My Soul Away” … 3:15
10. “Princess of the Dawn” … 6:15

Band:
Udo Dirkschneider – Vocals
Wolf Hoffmann – Guitars
Herman Frank – Guitars
Peter Baltes – Bass
Stefan Kaufmann – Drums

Produced by: Accept

A fine “heavy metal platter”. What? It’s a cliched term and I wanted to use it.

Accept is one of those bands that I never fell head over heels for like so many other metal fans have. I look at them as the German equivalent of Judas Priest, except they aren’t anywhere near as good as Priest, in my opinion.

After owning Balls to the Wall for quite some time, I figured I’d give Accept a shot again. From what I’ve heard, this is considered one of Accept’s best (if not THE best) albums and it’s not hard to hear why that would be, but even so, I’m not blown away by the album. There’s a handful of really good numbers (with “Fast as a Shark” and “Princess of the Dawn” being the true standouts), but I wouldn’t call the album “great”. I prefer the more melodic Metal Heart and Balls to the Wall.

Highlights: “Fast as a Shark”, “Restless and Wild”, “Neon Nights”, “Demon’s Night”, “Princess of the Dawn”

www.acceptworldwide.com

Upcoming Reviews

Okay, let’s try this again. I didn’t get a chance to review two of the albums I mentioned last. I’ve had a lot of new music coming in and I just haven’t had time to listen to all of it. Or, at least not enough to give albums a solid listen. Afterall, the Best Buy version of Dream Theater’s Black Clouds & Silver Linings is THREE DISCS.

So, again, here’s the list of what should be coming up soon:

Dream Theater – Black Clouds & Silver Linings

Nympho – V.I.P.

Whitesnake – Saints & Sinners

Testament – The New Order

Helstar – Nosferatu

Accept – Restless and Wild

Accept – Metal Heart

Overloaded – Hail the Kingdom

ACCEPT – Balls to the Wall

Accept – Balls to the Wall (1984, Portrait Records; 2001, Portrait Records/Epic Records/Legacy Recordings)

Track Listing:
1. “Balls to the Wall” … 5:42
2. “London Leatherboys” … 3:51
3. “Fight It Back” … 3:38
4. “Head Over Heels” … 4:25
5. “Losing More Than You’ve Ever Had” … 5:10
6. “Love Child” … 3:34
7. “Turn Me On” … 5:12
8. “Losers and Winners” … 4:19
9. “Guardian of the Night” … 4:24
10. “Winterdreams” … 4:52
BONUS TRACKS:
11. “Head Over Heels” [live] … 5:53
12. “Love Child” [live] … 4:58

Band:
Udo Dirkschneider – Vocals
Herman Frank – Guitars
Wolf Hoffmann – Guitars
Peter Baltes – Bass
Stefan Kaufmann – Drums

Produced by: Accept

My copy is the 2001 Legacy Recordings remaster featuring two live bonus tracks. This is an absolute classic. Accept was a band I had heard about for a long time, but wasn’t familiar with until probably 2002 or so when I scored this through the Columbia House Music program (say what you will about them, but the initial free CD offer they did was AMAZING).

“Balls to the Wall” immediately grabbed me by my own balls and didn’t let go throughout the whole song. One of the great metal anthems. The rest never really lets up either. Who cares if Udo is gay and people have drawn connections to homosexuality in the songs? They still ROCK and it’s still METAL!!! \m/

Highlights: “Balls to the Wall”, “Fight It Back”, “Head Over Heels”, “Losing More Than You’ve Ever Had”, “Love Child”, “Losers and Winners”, “Winterdreams”

YOUTH GONE WILD: Heavy Metal Hits of the 80’s, Volume 1

YOUTH GONE WILD: HEAVY METAL HITS OF THE 80’S, VOLUME 1 (1996, Rhino Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Rock You Like a Hurricane” – Scorpions (4:12)
2. “Talk Dirty to Me” – Poison (3:45)
3. “The Last in Line” – Dio (5:47)
4. “Lay It Down” – Ratt (3:27)
5. “Never Enough” – L.A. Guns (4:14)
6. “Parental Guidance” – Judas Priest (3:26)
7. “Blind in Texas” – W.A.S.P. (4:22)
8. “Ace of Spades” – Motorhead (2:49)
9. “Balls to the Wall” – Accept (5:43)
10. “Street of Dreams” – Rainbow (4:28)
11. “Screaming in the Night” – Krokus (6:40)
12. “Summertime Girls [Studio Version]” – Y&T (3:28)
13. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” -Twisted Sister (3:40)
14. “Cum on Feel the Noize” – Quiet Riot (4:50)

Rhino was ahead of the curve by a few years when they started releasing 80s metal compilations as the hair metal renaissance really didn’t start picking up until around ’98 and ’99 with the arrival of sites like Metal Sludge, VH1 Behind the Music specials on bands like Poison & Def Leppard, and the countless hair band reunion and summer tours that sprung up.  The first three volumes of this series were all released on the same day and there was a fourth volume released in ’98 (don’t worry, I’ll be getting to all of them).

Of all the YGW releases, this is the most star-studded, with Krokus and Y&T being the only lesser-known bands (but any fan of the genre knows who those bands are). There are some glaring omissions from the whole series (Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, Def Leppard, Alice Cooper, etc.), but I’ll just assume they probably couldn’t afford to license any of those songs because with the exception of Cinderella, most of those acts remained big names even as the 90s rolled on.

Every song here is a classic with the exception of Priest’s “Parental Guidance”, which enters the Cheese Zone somewhat. There’s so many better Priest songs they could’ve chosen to represent them outside of the standard Priest “classics” (I’m assuming they were trying to avoid the obvious inclusions like “You Got Another Thing Comin'” and “Breaking the Law”).

This is the best volume of the series and probably one of the better 80s metal compilations you’re going to find as virtually every band is represented by their signature song. Even if you already own the albums these songs originally appeared on, this compilation makes for a great “mix” CD to go cruising around with.

Highlights: The whole freakin’ album. Even the weakest song (“Parental Guidance”) has some charm to it, as long as you take it in the context of “it was the 80s”. Bonafide classic tracks here.

Lowlights: None. A near perfect compilation.

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