When I was a teenager, two of my favorite albums were Accept’s Balls to the Wall and Metal Heart, classics that to this day still get the occasional spin in my household. So it warmed this reviewer’s metal heart when the band began to enjoy a resurgence of sorts since reforming in 2009.
Of the original group, only guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and bassist Peter Baltes remain. Singer Mark Tornillo has been in the band since their reunion. On The Rise of Chaos they are joined by Christopher Williams on drums and Uwe Lulis (Rebellion, Grave Digger) on guitar.
“Die by the Sword” kicks things off in terrific fashion, with a killer riff and the band’s trademark backing vocals in the chorus. Tornillo lets loose with a barrage of screams that would make Rob Halford jealous throughout, and both guitarists blaze through solos. It’s an opener of Teutonic proportions, and shows the band hasn’t lost a step in any facet.
“Hole in the Head” has my favorite corny lyric of the year so far – “I need you like a prison term.” Yes! Cheesiness aside, it’s another solid number, midpaced like the days of old. Other numbers that have a rock solid pounding rhythm section (the old duo of Baltes/Kaufmann always stood out as one of the best in the genre) include “Koolaid” and the rather silly “Analog Man,” which redeems itself with a pre-chorus taken straight from “Balls to the Wall.”
All told, there’s not a weak track on The Rise of Chaos. The band blazes through numbers like the title track (one of their heaviest cuts), “No Regrets,” which could have held its own on Metal Heart, and “Carry the Weight,” all of which feature razor-sharp riffing, aggressive drumming, and solid performances from Tornillo. Lyrics generally stick to the theme of the album’s title: the slow disintegration of civilization – “the rats will rule this sinking ship” is a prime example.
As with their three previous albums, Accept recorded The Rise of Chaos with veteran producer Andy Sneap, resulting in a record that has a hard, polished edge to it, perfect for Accept’s style. Guitars sear through the mix, drums snap and pound, Baltes’ bass rumbles in perfect time, and Tornillo’s gravelly voice sits perfectly in the mix. It pays to work with a producer who knows his stuff, and doesn’t overwhelm the band with his style, instead simply bringing out the best in each musician.
The Rise of Chaos continues the satisfying trajectory Accept have been on since once again gracing us with their presence in 2009. Excellent performances and a solid set of songs equal an album that can be enjoyed numerous times without getting tiresome. Accept don’t break any new ground here, but they don’t have to: they simply keep to what they do best, and they do it.
(released August 4, 2017 on Nuclear Blast Records)