Accept

support Wolf
author EW date 17/03/11 venue Garage, London, UK

Isn't it funny how the fickle hand of the music world can work? Last year London hosted the first Accept show in years at the reasonably sized Islington Academy, one designed primarily to announce their reawakening, but now a second show has arrived they find themselves downgraded to the smaller Garage all the while having released a surprisingly strong album in "Blood of the Nations". One can guarantee things would not have gone this way had little Udo Dirkschneider still been the legendary outfit's frontman…

Wolf

At least unlike last year we did have the benefit of a support act to wet the metal taste buds for the evening, and that band was Swedes Wolf. Previous live experience with the trad heavy metallers at Bloodstock 2009 suggested they would be a better live proposition than was unfortunately the case in this much smaller showing. Through the presence of both drumsets on stage there was barely the room to swing a cat (or should that be a wolf?) in the space provided for Wolf's four constituent members, however the tame nature of their song delivery, not to mention the generic and ultimately insipid construction of the majority of their songs aired ensured a totally dead crowd reception until the latter stages of their 45 minute allocation. It was a case of knowing little of the band's music prior and coming away remembering nothing more, a sad fact for a band not exactly pushing the boundaries of extremity in the live arena, a sad indiction to the sparsity of real quality riffs in their offering.

In the end the popularity of countless identikit heavy metal acts suggests many are happy to be fed repetitive songs lacking the grace and gusto of classic metal acts, but I don't count myself as one and, sadly, clock-watching rather than fist-pumping summed up my thoughts as to Wolf's disappointing return to British shores.

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Accept

While no means bad, Accept's return to London last year lacked the sense of glory I had hoped and wished for in it's build-up; a combination of no support acts generating a low-key feel and the unsettled nature of new frontman Mark Tornillo exposing a band still looking to find their place in the current metal landscape. Fast forward ten months and Tornillo has bedded in some more, however his lack of inter-song banter and charisma remains a sticking point to the overall Accept show which otherwise serves as clear evidence the gulf in songwriting which separates the leaders and followers of the heavy metal scene, a situation played out before our very eyes on this evening.

Thankfully in lead guitarist Wolf Hoffman and bassist Peter Baltes there are two members happy to lead from the front and provide the visual aspect even classics like "Fast As A Shark", "Metal Heart", "Restless And Wild" and "Princess Of The Dawn" still require. The band's early material really does sum up what made 80's heavy metal so great and while we are now three decades down the line from those glory years the power, as well as great songwriting, at the heart of those songs has diminished little from not just Accept, but the genre as a whole. New tunes "Teutonic Terror", "New World Comin'" and "The Abyss" fitted into the setlist like the proverbial glove, highlighting a steady knack of knocking out great live songs and the band's justified presence in a world very different from the ones inhabitant in previous generations of the band.

It goes without saying the absence of Dirkschneider is keenly felt on the delivery of the numerous classics Accept packed into the 18 songs of this length set, but as mentioned in the review of "Blood of the Nations" Tornillo is no lightweight and were it not for the historical presence of such a recognisable voice in his place there could be no complaints about his vocal delivery. The audience reaction throughout made it clear how impressed the general feeling was, a judgement which was only likely to increase with the wheeling out of über-classic "Balls To The Wall" as the set closerdat gone 11pm and we all headed out into the chilly spring London air, happy with the continued and most welcome progress of classic heavy metal's classic bands.

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