Accept – Too Mean To Die (Album Review)

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Some folks are just too mean to die, right? For German heavy metal veterans Accept, the title of their upcoming sixteenth studio album isn’t just a badass statement, it’s a declaration of principles. The “Teutonic terror” legends shook the world back in 2010 when they released the perfect comeback album “Blood of the Nations,” which proved the band still had the metal spark ignited all those years ago. With the addition of Mark Tornillo on vocals, Accept acquired new recognition, infused with an adrenaline injection at the right place and right time. As the years went by, the band consistently released one strong record after another, never stopping, never looking back.

With the release of “Stalingrad” (2012) and “Blind Rage” (2014), Accept cemented itself as the “new old” masterclass act in the classic metal scene, regaining strength and muscle in every step they took. Somewhere along the way, however, that spark began to fade. By the time “The Rise of Chaos” was released in 2017, longtime members had begun to step out, with legendary guitarist Herman Frank being the first casualty. The album was good, but not that great compared to the others, and so began a period of uncertainty for the metal giants. 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 heavy metal 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 heavy 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 that backs out of the metal spectrum for a while, 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 heavy metal 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.

“Too Mean to Die” Album Artwork

If you want more obscure, mid-tempo tunes with epic choruses, check out first single “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, fast-paced 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” (which was also used by Rhapsody 20 years ago in the song “The Wizard’s Last Rhymes”) . An epic closing for an epic album, which also reminds one of Wolf’s latest solo album “Headbangers Symphony” (2019). It’s the perfect way to leave us both exhausted and craving for more, ending a record that benefits for having just the right amount of music: all killer and no filler.

Released by: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: January 15th, 2021
Genre: Heavy Metal

Musicians:

  • Wolf Hoffmann / Lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Mark Tornillo/  Lead vocals
  • Uwe Lulis / Rhythm guitar
  • Christopher Williams / Drums
  • Martin Motnik / Bass
  • Philip Shouse / Rhythm guitar

“Too Mean To Die” track-listing: 

  1. Zombie Apocalypse
  2. Too Mean to Die
  3. Overnight Sensation
  4. No Ones Master
  5. The Undertaker
  6. Sucks to Be You
  7. Symphony of Pain
  8. The Best Is Yet to Come
  9. How Do We Sleep
  10. Not My Problem
  11. Samson and Delilah

8.5 Excellent

“Too Mean To Die” is the perfect record to show Accept’s past and present colliding in spectacular fashion, providing enough crushing riffs, amazing guitar solos and catchy choruses to bang our heads and shake our fists in celebration of glorious heavy metal. The teutonic terror never slows down and double the stakes in a fun, powerful outing that stands among their greatest efforts. An awesome way to start 2021.

  • Performance 8.4
  • Production 8.6
  • Audio 8.3
  • Setlist 8.8
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