This is the abum I’ve been waiting all my reviewer’s life to have the opportunity to put my dirty hands in it. Accept are one of my favorite dear bands as I told it here zillion of times. I reviewed two Udo albums: 2020’s “We Are One” with Das Musikkorps der Bundeswehr and 2018’s “Steelfactory.” Meanwhile, I wrote some articles about Accept. But, unfortunately, never had the sweet opportuniy of reviewing an Accept’s album – 2018’s article about “Restless and Wild” doesn’t really count.
As many albums released by veteran bands after the classic era, “Too Mean to Die” is shadowed by Accept’s classic albums. To be fair with them all, I know it’s a very hard decision. Veteran bands are always shadowed by their classic efforts and feel obliged to repeat their golden years. Sometimes they do it as a dog running after its tail. The way I see this question is that the band could possibly follow its steps doing albums after albums the same way as before, or the band could go changing them album after album. Both decisions are dangerous. In this very especific case here, Accept opted to a return to a mixed sonancy of the classic era, “Objection Overruled” era and some new addings as they are with three guitarists now.
“Too Mean to Die” shows clearly that guitarist Wolf Hoffman is the man of the band as he is the sole constant member since its inception. Sometimes I wonder how a band could possibly survive to all those changes. Well, in fact, Accept returned from the dead many times. Wolf found in vocalist Mark Tornillo the best replacement to the unforgettable, and for many irreplaceable, Udo Dirkschneider as he’s been with Accept since 2009 and did five original albums. I’ll avoid the urge to compare the two. I guess it’s useless. Mark’s tone of voice is very near Udo’s and that’s a fact. There’s nothing to say about it. I guess when rebanding Wolf considered this with all his heart. The main point that made the band disband was for personal differences, not artistic and I guess after all the backs and forths, the classic line-up will be impossible. A curious fact about “Too Mean to Die” is that the more I listen to it, the more I find differences from the classic era.
That all said, to be clear, in no way I mean “Too Mean to Die” is a bad album. It’s not. It’s classic Accept with some slight touches of Mark Tornillo. Die-hard fans will notice around the album to which I listened very carefully, and passionately, to write this review. Opening track “Zombie Apocalypse” is a true Accept killer machine. It’s also the track that leaves Mark Tornillo give his personal touches. The track has some modern touches in its harmonic construction and arrangement. Guitarists Wolf Hoffman, Uwe Lulis and Philip Shouse do an amazing job here adding features and techniques that weren’t usual in Accept’s music. But the anthemic choruses leave no doubt: it’s Accept we’re talking about! Tittle track “Too Mean to Die” is a track to be respected. It’s fast and furious as only Accept can do it with guitar touches that make it unforgettable. Here and there we feel that though Mark Tornillo‘s tone of voice is very similar to Udo’s, they are distinct. “Overnight Sensation” could be in any classic album from “Balls to the Wall” to “Russian Roulete” as a matter of fact. Make no mistake, this is a compliment. “The Undertaker” starts as a ballad, but soon there is a change of heart in a crescendo showing all the virtues Mark’s voice has and the ability of Wolf to make his guitar speaks. “Symphony of Pain” does the classic, and usual, Accept’s approach to classical music as they did in many other songs as “Metal Heart.” The real ballad is “The Best Is Yet to Come” whose kind lyrics couldn’t be more meaningful to people that are getting old as they are and myself included. It’s the track where Mark sounds more similar to Udo. The lyrics of “How Do We Sleep” maintain Accept’s acid view of the world. It’s a facet I guess many don’t know about the band. The grand finale is the instrumental “Samson And Delilah” which keeps the faith of all instrumental tracks that Accept have recorded.
I didn’t cover all tracks because I thought this review could get to long and I chose to write about the more significant ones – from my point of view. Of course, I may have made the wrong choice, but it’s done. When it comes to Accept all tracks are important.
“Too Mean to Die” does the great work to keep Accept among the best active bands. That’s a lot considering everything.
Accept “Too Mean to Die” will be released on January 29th via Nuclear Blast Records.
- Zombie Apocalypse
- Too Mean to Die
- Overnight Sensation
- No Ones Master
- The Undertaker
- Sucks to Be You
- Symphony of Pain
- The Best Is Yet to Come
- How Do We Sleep
- Not My Problem
- Samson And Delilah
Watch “Too Mean to Die” official lyric video here: