Wednesday, 24 July 2013

CD Review: Balls To The Wall, by Accept (1983)

The fifth studio album from Germany's Accept follows the band's typical formula: a few stunningly good tracks surrounded by adequate material and a couple of duds. Balls To The Wall is only occasionally terrific, but on the whole holds its own.

With Udo Dirkschneider's distinctive higher-pitched and heart-felt vocals leading from the front, guitarists Wolf Hoffman and Herman Frank trade licks with unguarded joy, Accept enriching the power metal world without necessarily reinventing it. The pace is medium fast, the energy uniformly buzzed, and the beats strong. Accept build modest structures and memorable melodies, and when everything fits seamlessly into place, the results are irresistible.

The CD opens with title track Balls To The Wall, a thundering anthem of the most ridiculously enjoyable kind, Hoffman and Frank strumming the fat riff on a track that defines Accept with its powerful simplicity. At 3:20 the choir of doom joins the buzzy guitar leading into a quiet interlude, only for the fury to be re-ignited at 4:50 for a fist-pumping, head-banging finale.

Almost as good are Head Over Heels and Losers And Winners. Head Over Heels has a bouncing riff that builds to Udo's finest vocal performance on the album, followed by a wondrous, Blackmore-inspired layered guitar solo. Losers And Winners is faster and more frantic, echoing Maiden's brisker tracks, and featuring prominent drum and bass work with a strafing chorus designed to last for decades.

The album dips noticeably on weaker tracks like Love Child and Turn Me On, and much of the rest of the material is enjoyable without setting pulses racing.

Balls To The Wall lives up to its name in flashes. When it does, the balls are big and the wall strong.


Udo Dirkschneider - Vocals
Wolf Hoffman - Guitar
Hermann Frank - Guitar
Peter Baltes - Bass
Stefan Kaufmann - Drums

1. Balls To The Wall - 10
2. London Leatherboys - 7
3. Fight It Back - 7
4. Head Over Heels - 9
5. Losing More Than You've Ever Had - 7
6. Love Child - 6
7. Turn Me On - 6
8. Losers And Winners - 9
9. Guardian Of The Night - 7
10. Winterdreams - 7

Average: 7.50

Produced by Accept.
Engineered by Louis Austin. Mixed by Michael Wagener.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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