Death Row (Pavement)
by Joe Hacking
If I were asked to name one of the shows from the ’80s metal years that really blew my mind, I’d say Accept: Controlled power blasting from house-sized PAs, the Orpheum a mass of Caucasians chanting the words to “Balls to the Wall,” a short, angry German in fatigues feeding off of the crowd repeating his name as one voice. Too bad they opened for Krokus that night.
But here it is,1995, and Accept hath returned with the legendary Udo Dirkschneider at the helm and axeman Wolf Hoffman by his side. Death Row (Pavement), their new release, follows 1993’s Objection Overruled, produced after their hoards of fans convinced them to reform. Death Row moves Accept into the ’90s under the power of Hoffman’s rock solid, aggressive guitar style and Udo’s piercing growl.
When you’re this talented and motivated to produce, the date matters little. Accept are reclaiming their old turf with Death Row. Never mind that MTV and the rest of the trend machine is trying to kill metal before its eventual return. Accept cuts across classifications. The material on Death Row possesses the great writing and production, the sonic metal guitars and the punchy low end (courtesy of drummer Stephan Kaufman and bassist Peter Baites) which the disc needs to stand alone and free from what Accept has done in the past.
The band’s most notable change since the ’80s is that they’re writing songs for one guitar now. No extra guitarists on tour either. This forces Hoffman to push himself and tap into his higher guitar power. He controls feedback and intensity as if his axe were liked to his primal consciousness. He really dominates Accept’s sound now. And his acoustic work, especially on “Writing on the Wall,” displays his versatility.
Udo Derkshneider, everyone’s favorite short guy, can still hit those inhuman registers; he just can’t use it to call dogs anymore. Without Udo, Accept is not Accept. Without Udo, the Germanic choir backing vocals would sound campy. If you do nothing else this year, make sure you see this man live. He’s intense.
As always, Accept’s lyrics deal with the decay of Western Civilization on both the global and personal levels. On “Like a Loaded Gun,” Udo sneers: “They mutilate and penetrate/They masturbate my brains/When all I need for sanity/Is love to ease my pain.”
With their larger-than-life anthems and biting social commentary, Accept have returned just in time to provide the soundtrack for the Social Apocalypse.