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Accept– Symphonic Terror - Live at Wacken 2017 Award winner

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Symphonic Terror - Live at Wacken 2017
by Chris Hawkins at 03 December 2018, 8:28 PM

What can be said about ACCEPT that has not already been committed in print to the annals of Heavy Metal history?  Perhaps many fans out there do not realize that the band’s beginnings can be traced back to the late 1960s when original singer Udo Dirkschneider and Metal producer extraordinaire-to be Michael Wagener collaborated.  The band was actually signed in 1976 after playing the Rock am Rhein festival in Germany.  Releasing their self-titled debut in 1979, the band’s history will forever be cemented as originators of the present Heavy Metal we all adore.  Clearly, along with JUDAS PRIEST, SCORPIONS, and IRON MAIDEN, ACCEPT will forever reside in the upper echelon of progenitors of Metal.  The latest offering from the band is a live performance from Wacken 2017 where they performed alongside the Czech National Symphony.  At a stunning 140 minutes, it is truly a lot to cover, but is ultimately worthwhile.

The energy level is high with the band’s opening track, “Die by the Sword”.  It is soon apparent that this is a recording with the highest fidelity capturing the power and spectacle of these Metal heroes.  Following this, the band launches into a personal favorite, “Restless and Wild”.  Admittedly, I’m more familiar with the band’s classic material, but clearly, Mark Tornillo nails the mysterious gravel that embodies Udo’s classic vocals.

It is on the sixth track that the band begins to fully utilize the symphony orchestra.  The original feel of MUSSORGSKY’s “Night on Bald Mountain” is retained and injected with some Heavy Metal fury.  Following this is a powerful rendition of BEETHOVEN’s “Scherzo” that was previously featured on Wolf Hoffmann’s “Headbangers Symphony”.  A version of BEETHOVEN’s “Pathetique” is featured as the ninth track.  Hearing the palm-muted guitars alongside the arpeggiated string section is intoxicating for any musician or fan.  These renditions of Classical music are certain to reside in the listener’s head for some time afterward.

While the combination of the band and symphony sound exceptionally powerful performing selections of highlights from Classical music, it is when ACCEPT’s classic songs are performed that the album truly becomes a scorcher.  The twelfth track, “Princess of the Dawn," conveys that same bombastic quality of the original.  The title track to ACCEPT’s third studio album “Breaker,” comes in as track fifteen and furiously retains the rebellious quality of the original.

Fans will not be disappointed for toward the end, more and more classics are performed.  That same annoying classic German folk song is used as the intro to the proto-Speed Metal song, “Fast as a Shark” at position eighteen.  If there ever were a song ahead of its time, this clearly qualifies as it spawned an entire genre.  Hearing the symphonic accompaniment underneath the band truly compliments the music.  The next track is a favorite, “Metal Heart,” and is aptly performed here.  Do not worry, though, for the band do perform “Balls to the Wall” as the twenty first and final song.

While detractors may say that this is an overindulgent offering, the band’s tenure as leaders of Teutonic metal over four decades overrides such sentiments.  Truly, a band with such an expansive career should be allowed carte blanche in regard to their artistic offerings.  This unique combination of a Metal band and symphony should be used as evidence of Metal’s rightful inclusion in the history of modern music.  While some bands have a more expansive flare for Neo-Classicism than others, ACCEPT combine the genres in a way that compliments their classic sound.  Upon hearing it, the listener will certainly agree and be convinced that this is simply a logical extension of ACCEPT’s repertoire.  Heavy Metal and Classical music share a penchant for drama, spectacle, and dynamics.  This case can be made by listening to examples of classic ACCEPT songs and those particularly of the highly-expressive period known as the Romantic era.  Never has the combination of these two genres sounded more fitting.  In fact, this would be the perfect gift for any metal head in the family or for that stuffy, pipe-smoking uncle who buries his head in Classical music, constantly chiding modern sounds.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9





4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Die By the Sword
2. Restless and Wild
3. Koolaid
4. Pandemic
5. Final Journey
6. Night on Bald Mountain
7. Scherzo
8. Romeo and Juliet
9. Pathetique
10. Double Cello Concerto in G Minor
11. Symphony No. 40 in G Minor
12. Princess of the Dawn
13. Stalingrad
14. Dark Side of My Heart
15. Breaker
16. Shadow Soldiers
17. Dying Breed
18. Fast as a Shark
19. Metal Heart
20. Teutonic Terror
21. Balls to the Wall

Lineup:
Wolf Hoffmann- Guitars, Backing Vocals
Mark Tornillo – Lead Vocals
Uwe Lulis - Guitars
Christopher Williams – Drums
Peter Baltes – Bass, Backing Vocals

Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
     


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