ACCEPT – Too Mean To Die (2021)
To be released next week, “Too Mean To Die” is the (now) German/American quintet ACCEPT 16th studio effort, and the album’s title seems like an appropriate moniker. This marks the first record in the band’s four-decade career not to feature original bassist Peter Baltes, leaving guitarist Wolf Hoffmann as the Accept’s lone original member and primary composer.
But Hoffmann hasn’t forgotten how to craft a meaty riff and pounding, melodic juggernaut rhythms. Every element that makes up a classic ACCEPT record is present here.
In fact – and while ACCEPT has not released a bad album this decade since the band’s rebirth with Mark Tornillo – “Too Mean To Die” should be the best; all killer and no filler.
With the release of “Stalingrad” (2012) and “Blind Rage” (2014), Accept cemented itself as the “new / old school” masterclass act in the classic melodic metal scene, regaining strength and muscle in every step they took.
Somewhere along the way, however, longtime members had begun to step out, with legendary guitarist Herman Frank being the first casualty. This tension was aggravated even more when original bassist Peter Baltes also dropped out in 2018, an integral part of the band present from the very beginning and present in all studio releases.
Now Accept is left with only one original member, guitar legend Wolf Hoffmann, the last remaining piece of the mighty German warriors. Is it enough to call this band Accept?
If “Too Mean To Die” serves as any indication, the answer to that question is a profound YES.
Wasting no time at all, everything collapses with banging opener “Zombie Apocalypse”, a crushing anthem that leaves no stone unturned. The band sounds tight, focused. Mark Tornillo sings his ass off in a remarkable performance for the 66 years old singer.
Newcomers Martin Motnik on bass and Philip Shouse on rhythm guitar feel right at home, providing a strong base for the music to flow.
Everything works perfectly – ACCEPT is back!
You thought things will slow down from here? Think again. Second single and title track “Too Mean To Die” ups the tempo by a hundred with a fast paced tune that keeps on rocking long after the record stops. It’s the perfect example of the relentless attitude by a band that has nothing left to prove, but hits hard anyway. Crushing riffs by maestro Wolf Hoffmann provide his trademark sound, along with some inspired and expertly crafted guitar solo. This is the song you need to hear if you’re a classic metal fan in 2021.
It is well known that Accept also has this relaxed, joyous side that delves more into the hard rock territory, and “Overnight Sensation” fills that spot in this album. It’s a fun, catchy tune, puts a smile on our faces and makes us jump and bang our head. One might even say we can dance to this tune
If you want more classic bangers, there’s plenty to choose from: “No Ones Master” and “Not My Problem” are perfect examples of this, getting into this uplifting mood with fast, aggressive riffage. The energy and youth of this songs makes one wonder how a 40-something year old band can sound like this.
For classic ’80s ACCEPT mid-tempo tunes with epic choruses, check out “The Undertaker”, a song that may prove a bit underwhelming on first listen, but grows on one over time.
Other highlights include the power-ballad “The Best is Yet To Come”, a powerful outing with a strong message and a performance for the ages, full of emotion. It’s one that hits you right in the feels, remaining optimistic for whatever the future holds.
Wolf Hoffmann’s love and admiration for classical music is no secret among fans, so it’s natural there’s some influence to be reckoned with on this record, specially on such an amazing track like “Symphony of Pain.” This is a powerful anthem with small references to world famous “Ode to Joy” and even the monstrous 5th Symphony by Beethoven.
There’s even more classical renditions on closing track “Samson and Delilah”, which is entirely instrumental (a rare occurrence for ACCEPT’s catalog) and it’s based on Dvorak’s “New World Symphony”. An epic closing for great, solid / no-dud album. It’s the perfect way to ending a record that benefits for having just the right amount of music: all good and no filler.
The line-up’s new additions over the last few years have pumped fresh blood into ACCEPT’s menacing metal heart proving Hoffmann and Co. are indeed ”Too Mean to Die”.
01. Zombie Apocalypse
02. Too Mean To Die
03. Overnight Sensation
04. No Ones Master
05. The Undertaker
06. Sucks To Be You
07. Symphony Of Pain
08. The Best Is Yet To Come
09. How Do We Sleep
10. Not My Problem
11. Samson And Delilah
Mark Tornillo – Vocals (TT Quick, ex-Riff Raff)
Wolf Hoffmann – Guitars
Philip Shouse – Guitars (Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons Band)
Christopher Williams – Drums (ex-Blackfoot, ex-John Corabi)
Martin Motnik – Bass (ex-The Roxx)