REVIEW: ACCEPT – “Too Mean To Die”
I don’t think there is anything for me to say about Accept that haven’t been said already. Perhaps the most iconic German heavy metal band of all time, these guys are responsible for presenting heavy metal to a legion of people and for creating some of the all-time best albums in the genre. Now with only one remaining founding member in Wolf Hoffmann, the Teutonic legends are back with their sixteenth studio album, ‘Too Mean to Die’, following the steps of their newer works since returning to action in 2010.
Now with two new faces in the lineup, adding a third guitarist with Phil Shouse and with Martin Motnik replacing the (unreplaceable) Peter Baltes, Accept once again tries to reinvent themselves and continue their successful path. As is already usual, Andy Sneap’s production wizardry is once again present and no-frills, direct songs are the menu here.
From classic Accept tunes to something more experimental, I would say that this is the most heterogeneous album from the band since their return. Pumped-up, straightforward traditional metal tracks like title track, “No Ones Master” and “Not My Problem” will quench your thirst for the classic Teutonic vibe, while some different takes to their own sound, like the ‘Eat the Heat’-ish “Overnight Sensation” and cool instrumental closer “Samson and Delilah” can make up for those who need to get away from the same ol’ atmosphere.
In comparison to their previous work, ‘The Rise of Chaos’ (2017), there are less mediocre songs and a better contrast between each track. Even the less exciting ones like opener “Zombie Apocalypse”, “Sucks to Be You” and “How Do We Sleep” are well spaced so that you don’t feel underwhelmed or tired of the 52-minute length, which is always a lot in terms of traditional heavy metal, if you ask me.
Mark Tornillo’s voice is once again top-notch and, while Hoffmann raises the bar with his wonderful classical-trained expertise, Uwe Lulis proves once again why he is one of the best at his craft. Since his time with Grave Digger and afterwards with Rebellion, he has always a band’s greatest asset, and with Accept is no different.
Strangely enough, it’s in the production and mixing that the album falls a little bit short. Andy Sneap is one of the greatest producers out there, but his works are also infamous to be very similar to each other in the mixing department, and ‘Too Mean to Die’ is no exception. The tried-and-true formula still works, don’t get me wrong, but a well trained ear will easily notice the similarities to Accept’s past works with Sneap, and even some related albums produced by the British legend, such as Judas Priest’s ‘Firepower’ and Saxon’s newer records. This tends to hurt the originality and replay factor for some, especially when dealing with a band so legendary.
All in all, ‘Too Mean to Die’ has Accept written all over it, from the riffs to the songwriting, all the way to the performances. Once again, Wolf Hoffmann has managed to keep his band alive and relevant with interesting tracks and a renewed dose of energy, even if his two faithful brothers, Peter Baltes and Stefan Schwarzmann, are no longer around. A step above ‘The Rise of Chaos’, this is worthy of new and old Accept fans, and will still make you bang your head to the Teutonic terror. Recommended.