Friday, February 15, 2002 @ 4:32 PM
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Though overshadowed by wildly successful countrymen The Scorpions, Germany’s Accept nevertheless left an indelible stamp on ‘80s metal. With their crunching, lock-step riffs, swaggering beats and pitbull-on-steroids singer Udo Dirkschneider’s rabid wail, Accept carved a niche for themselves between the meaker, prettier hairbands and the more savage thrash contingent.
And while they were the object of some scorn for the hokey, synchronized stage antics, Dirkschneider’s troll-like presence and curious homo-erotic aura, the Teutonic titans produced three of the ‘80s finest metalworks in Restless and Wild, Balls To The Wall and Metal Heart before beginning a slow fade. Accept finally called it a day after 1996’s Predator - although Dirkschneider remains active fronting U.D.O. The inevitable tribute album is a bit late in coming, but Nuclear Blast finally stepped forward and rounded up a motley collection of 16 bands - a largely obscure group with Agent Steel as the only American representative - to salute Accept. And as is the case with most tributes, the results are decidedly mixed.
The album gets off to a rousing start with underrated Swedish thrashers Witchery’s ferocious, dead-on take of “Fast As A Shark,” complete with the hilarious “Hi dee, hi doh, hi dah” polka intro. Brilliant. Concluding “Shark” with the opening riffs of “Balls To The Wall” is a nice touch as well - especially since the track, incredibly, is not covered elsewhere. For shame. And when Germany’s lame Raise Hell follows by dragging things down with a pedestrian take of “Slave To Metal,” a pattern of peaks and valleys begins in earnest.
The peaks are certainly worth noting. U.D.O offers monstrous rendition of “XTC,” a track from the forgotten Eat The Heat recorded after Dirkschneider left Accept for a spell. With the mighty mite’s shrill, ballsy voice and a beefier musical backbone, Dirkschneider and company transforms an ordinary track into something grand.
Godgory’s funereal version of Accept’s biggest ballad “Princess of the Dawn” is brilliant as is Therion’s somber, gothic reworking of “Seawinds.” Darkane and Darkseed do equal justice with gruff and gritty treatments of “Restless & Wild” and “Midnight Mover” and Disbelief’s “Dogs On Leads” has all of the menace of the original.
It does take some patience to endure unknowns like Custard or Spiral Tower misfire on throwaways “Aiming High” and “TV - War,” or someone called Rough Silk doing a wretched lounge remake of “Screaming For A Love Bite,” but old fans of Accept will find enough nostalgic thrills here to satisfy. Curious newbies, however, might want to try Accept’s live album Staying A Life instead.