Accept – Too Mean to Die (Nuclear Blast)Wednesday, 3rd February 2021
Back in 2010 on their comeback album Blood of the Nations, Accept would release a single and video for “Pandemic”. By the end of the decade, the band’s consistent high caliber discography and keen business acumen has put them firmly back at headlining, reliable heavy metal status – as the world has been turned upside down by coronavirus and the ‘pandemic’. Starting the new decade with some lineup shuffling once again (exit long time bassist Peter Baltes, enter Martin Motnik while adding a third guitarist with Philip Shouse), it’s business as usual for Too Mean to Die – serving up eleven more tracks of anthems, rockers, ballads, and instrumentals in that Teutonic steel fashion everyone has come to know and love.
The Wolf Hoffmann riff parade along with in the pocket rhythm section work drives the majority of the material – instinctive and knowledgeable for constructing the best hooks and supplying the proper transitions and flavoring for cooking up plenty of headbanging, fist waving, unison chanting/singing moments. Those who live for flying V harmonies or classical-oriented breaks will be pleased to hear the instrumental action within opener “Zombie Apocalypse”, the drumming of Christopher Williams quite propulsive and energetic on the snare/double kick towards the conclusion. These veterans know how to lock into that mid-tempo thump with the right accents and punch, as you’d be hard pressed to not tap your feet to “Not My Problem” or “No Ones Master” – while Wolf throws a bit of Beethoven’s infamous 5th Symphony affinities during the key lead break sequence of “Symphony of Pain”. Mark Tornillo delivers those gritty melodic vocals and sadistic screams to punctuate his metal to the bone delivery – but can also be very reflective and calmer in a bluesy clean manner for the ballad “The Best Is Yet to Come”. Ending the record on a guitar-driven instrumental “Samson and Delilah” that takes the listener on another classical meets exotic heavy metal journey fueled by axe movements audiences can easily sing along with, it’s evident that the creative tank is still moving along quite well for these gentlemen.
Even though many of the lyrical topics and phrasing can be subject to cliches and not as well written as one would hope (a song title like “Sucks to Be You” or the social media content again for “Overnight Sensation” pedestrian and could have used some Deaffy-inspired revisions), Too Mean to Die checks off all the requisite boxes for every metalhead to put in constant rotation.