Accept

Too Mean To Die

Written by: RUB on 22/01/2021 09:04:00

When the Teutonic metalheads of Accept reunited in 2009, it was with a new vocalist in Mark Tornillo picking up where the legendary Udo Dirkschneider had left off, and their first post-reunion album “Blood Of The Nations” delivered a remarkably fresh and modern sound, which had their lead single “Teutonic Terror” take the metal community by storm. Fast forward to 2021, and the Germans are ready to drop their fourth album featuring Tornillo’s pipes: “Too Mean to Die”. The previous three records were all generally positively received, but at the same time, in 2014 began an exodus of long-term members from the band, which saw guitarist Herman Frank, drummer Stefan Schwarzmann, and eventually also founding bassist Peter Baltes depart Accept, leaving this latest offering to include only a single original member in guitarist Wolf Hoffmann. With so many new musicians involved, how was this record thus going to fare against their previous barrages of no-bullshit heavy metal?

Starting with “Zombie Apocalypse”, it initially sounds like any other Accept album: fast, melodic, catchy, and first and foremost heavy. The melodies are simple yet effective, and should fall right in line with what anyone familiar with the band is expecting to hear. Tornillo’s harsh, high-pitched, and raw vocals have quickly become an integral part of the Accept sound and they are of course present on this track too, which means: so far, so good. The tempo is high from the get-go rendering this track a good fit for future live setlists and for firing up the crowds, and as it generally follows the same, easily recognizable pattern as the rest of Accept’s material, it becomes clear pretty quickly that the group was not about change their sound or song structure drastically for this record. So what we’re dealing with is basically best described as more of the same old, which I’m usually fine with. If a band’s sound works and results in great songs, just go with it — no need to fix what ain’t broken. But the material on “Too Mean to Die” is just not exhilarating or fresh enough to leave much of a lasting impression on me. Take the song “Overnight Sensation” for example; on the surface it sounds pretty decent, but perhaps somewhat cheesy, which, in my book, Accept have always risen above. The bridge and chorus are just tame compared to their past glory days of playing absolute balls-to-the-wall heavy metal, feeling about as predictable as it gets.

The standout “No Ones Master” wins the award for best song on the album because of its tempo and — while it is pretty simplistic — its catchy guitar riff. But this single track does not leave all to much to go on, especially as less than half of the album offers what I would consider truly worthwhile material. “The Undertaker” might have some catchy whoa-ohs going on during the chorus, but that is about the only memorable thing in it, while the likes of “Sucks to Be You”, “The Best Is Yet to Come” and “How Do We Sleep” leave me wondering why they were even included, considering that the album clocks in at a full 52 minutes. Instrumentally, the latter mostly sounds like a newer and duller version of the aforementioned “Teutonic Terror” — just with all of the exciting and outstanding aspects removed. And to avoid making matters even worse, let’s not even start talking about that cover art. To end the album, Accept have opted to throw in an instrumental track. Usually, this would strike me as an odd choice; another filler track the band could not quite get to fit into the realms of the rest of the album, albeit still worthy of being released in some form. But “Samson and Delilah” is actually a very fresh-sounding piece with its Egyptian-sounding guitar licks, epic twin leads, sweet song structure and nice shifts in pace. I would, without hesitation, have placed it earlier on the album – perhaps around the middle — but the sheer sound of it actually piqued my interest as opposed to many of the other tracks which I would describe as uninspiring and dull.

In conclusion then, “Too Mean to Die” barely does the job. I have a hard time seeing the band garnering any new fans after spinning it, but on the other hand I’m sure diehard fans will find a few tracks here and there worthy of playtime – maybe even in a live setting. Where Accept used to play music with attitude and power, here it feels like they are but a shadow of their former selves. I find the record pretty easy to forget, and I’m certainly not blown away as I’ve been by them in the past. A few hints of their balls to the wall heavy metal are present, but the melodies are mostly mediocre, the lyrics dull, and it feels like the band is starting to run low on ideas. And maybe they are — with so many new members, it’s possible they have not quite found their mojo as a single unit yet, and apart from the few songs mentioned in the download section below, I would rather choose so many other tracks from their back catalogue over the large majority from “Too Mean to Die”. It will, however, give them a good reason to revisit venues and festivals when that becomes possible again, and I will actually be looking forward to it, as they luckily still pack plenty of power to show in such surroundings. Just sadly not on this particular album.

Download: No Ones Master, Samson and Delilah, Too Mean to Die, Zombie Apocalypse, Symphony of Pain
For the fans of: Judas Priest, Running Wild, Saxon, U.D.O, W.A.S.P.
Listen: Facebook

Release date 29.01.2021
Nuclear Blast

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