At this stage of their career, longtime Deutschland crew Accept are simply going to have to … well … ACCEPT the fact that they may be regarded in the numerous history books devoted to their musical genre as one of metal’s top also-rans. Accept never seem to make the Top 100 lists of bands, songs, or albums, and are mostly known in the U.S. (if for anything) for that vaguely homoerotic song on that album of the same name (which also has a vaguely homoerotic image on the cover). Still … “balls!” to all that.
Judging by tonight’s concert in Beverly Hills–the first date of the band’s current US tour–history’s opinion doesn’t seem to matter to both band and audience. The Saban might only be at half-capacity, and attended by graying, long-in-tooth fans (many of whom look extremely pleased to have left the kids at home with a sitter), but when the music starts to really swing, Accept are among the most reliable of European metal acts.
The group are now four albums deep into their “Mark Tornillo era”; the American singer joining in 2009 to replace departed frontman Udo Dirkschneider. Accept also recently recruited guitarist Uwe Lulis and drummer Christopher Williams to join the founding members, lead guitarist Wolf Hoffman and bassist Peter Baltes. One might even observe that Lulis and Williams look far younger than most of the audience … .
But, again, none of that really matters, once Hoffman, Baltes, and Lulis start lunging their guitars in lock-step formation, firing riffs into the crowd like the heavy-metal soldiers Manowar wish they were. The Germans have always had more of an affinity for infectious, AC/DC-styled blooze ‘n’ boogie than for the stiff bludgeon of, say, Judas Priest … and Hoffman’s sly smile as he strolls along the lip of the stage, gazing out at each of the crowd’s faces, is convincing enough to make you believe he’s having just about more fun than anyone. Tornillo may be the singer, but Hoffman’s cool and controlling presence clearly marks him out as group leader.
Fitting into his role nicely, Tornillo possesses a wail that fulfills the need required by the Restless And Wild-era songs (“Fast As A Shark,” “Neon Nights,” and “Princess Of The Dawn”), but it’s his lyrics on tunes found on the just-released The Rise Of Chaos album that show there’s remaining life in these old road dogs: “Koolaid” brings a first-person account of the horrors of the Jim Jones massacre in Guyana to the record, while “Analog Man” would make the late George Carlin grin, with its I’m-so-fucking-tired-of-technology lament. The entire Rise Of Chaos album brims with cantankerous commentary on a world seemingly spinning into lunacy, leavened with slight rays of humor, promise, and hope.
Closing out with the encore trio of “Metal Heart,” the anthemic “Teutonic Terrors,” and (naturally) “Balls To The Wall,” Accept leave their audience of onetime furious headbangers nodding safely and gently into the night, all thoroughly entertained. And the metal circus rolls on…
Words: JOSHUA SINDELL