By Gruesome Greg
In preparation for the arrival of the new Accept album, I dug out my old cassette copy of Eat the Heat, their last recording sans Udo. A terribly dated piece of late 80’s pap metal, their idea of replacing the pint-sized Monsterman with a more accessible singer—Bangalore Choir’s David Reece, whose gun wasn’t loaded on these recording sessions—did not go over well. Reece was a half-assed Axl Rose, generic 1989 “metal” frontman, the type you’d run into on any corner of the Sunset Strip, and the songs range from Judas Priest-lite to Night Ranger fluff. No wonder I kept this in a box at the back of my closet…
Fast forward 20 years, and David Reece is long forgotten. In ex-TT Quick frontman Mark Tornillo, Accept has found a Brian Johnson to Udo’s Bon Scott, a frontman of a mostly obscure band who sounds an awful lot like the band’s legendary singer. “Beat the Bastards” is a classic Accept chugger with some modern-day breakdowns and an ol’ school German gang chorus. Infectious single “Teutonic Terror” has another one of those great me speaks English choruses that you can’t help belting out: “We will… Give ‘em the axe!” (Apparently, a lot of the lyrics are Tornillo’s—then again, he’s from New Jersey…)
At six minutes and 54 seconds long, leadoff single “The Abyss” was clearly slated to be another epic a la “Balls…” But the backing vocals are a little too layered, sounding more prissy power metal than dirty punk rock. It also has a slow middle section that wouldn’t sound outta place on *gasp* Eat the Heat… (It’s mercifully short, but “Kill the Pain,” on the other hand, we could do without.) While Udo was known to wear combat fatigues on stage, Tornillo has taken the military fetish even further with the war imagery on this record, which he dedicates “to the Armed Forces of all countries who selflessly protect our freedom and make it possible for us to do these things.” Frankly, this gets a little old.
I’d much rather listen to songs about the speed of sharks and London Leatherboys. The title track “Blood of the Nations,” and particularly its chorus, could be slotted straight into a recruitment ad for the United States Marines with Top Gun fighters circling overhead…
Despite my quibbles with the lyrical content, this album is a great piece of throwback metal, Andy Sneap harnessing the classic 80’s Accept sound and bringing it into the 21st century. Their last Udo-less effort may not have aged well, but Blood of the Nations is timeless.
Still, I hafta deduct at least one point for turning a happy-go-lucky band from Deutschland into flag-waving, arms-bearing supporters of the American military complex. Perhaps Brian Johnson isn’t the best historic predecessor for Tornillo—can you imagine if AC/DC had replaced Bon with Ted Nugent?