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Metal Heart - Accept

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Genre: Hard Rock & Metal - Heavy Metal / Artist: Accept / Import / Audio CD released at Sony

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      14.10.2007 13:01
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      Accept's sixth album (1985).

      I love 80s metal. No matter how deeply some of the more avant-garde recesses of my music collection try to impress me and tempt me over to a realm of depth and full sensual experience, it’s the simple, stupid enjoyment of 80s bands keeps me coming back for more, and Accept’s 1985 album is a perfect example. It’s called ‘Metal Heart,’ but this isn’t some kind of metaphor for a die-hard heavy metal fan, or elegy for a relationship gone bad, no. It’s a real metal heart. Full of wires and stuff, you can see it on the cover. I love heavy metal!

      Unfortunately, the 80s were cursed with another, entirely different strand of stupid music in the form of disco, and Accept were one of several notable metal bands to head in that direction in pursuit of greater commercial success that never really arrived. Fortunately, with its loud and clear production and well adapted riffs, ‘Metal Heart’ is far less offensive to metal fans than Judas Priest’s ultimate dance floor blasphemy ‘Turbo’ released two years later, and should have been forced down those deluded Brummies’ earholes to instruct them how it should have been done. This album is a significant step down from Accept’s previous two releases in terms of speed and aggression, but the talents of lead guitarist Wolf Hoffman and the distinctive, oft-imitated vocal screech of Udo Dirkschneider are fleshed out fully by the impressive production job, making this satisfyingly powerful as well as damn catchy, a fine meeting of traditional metal with commercial rock that only makes a few major slip-ups.

      1. Metal Heart
      2. Midnight Mover
      3. Up to the Limit
      4. Wrong is Right
      5. Screaming for a Love-Bite
      6. Too High to Get it Right
      7. Dogs on Leads
      8. Teach Us to Survive
      9. Living for Tonite
      10. Bound to Fail

      The whole album is based on simple and steady rhythms similar to dance beats without committing themselves, and Peter Baltes’ bass fills in for rhythm guitar very competently when the lead instruments go off on one, as they frequently do. Select songs are drenched in a soaking of keyboards, but these are restricted to atmospheric background duties and fortunately don’t interfere too greatly with the main melodies, as the result would almost certainly be embarrassing. As it stands, there’s only one song that’s truly quite awful and insulting to metal in the form of the (perhaps inevitable) love song ‘Screaming for a Love-Bite,’ ironically the track on which Udo’s voice is uncharacteristically restrained. The obvious song designed around the notion of being released a hit single, everything from the TV-game-show guitar riffs to the mellow singing in the chorus and the boring, monotonous drum plod place this firmly in rock ballad territory, but experienced listeners can easily skip around it on replays.

      There are actually several different playing styles evident on this album, which makes the approach of each new track an exciting experience to look forward to, even if it sometimes leads to regret. The opening title track is a slice of pure 80s heavy metal with a long guitar build-up aided by some choral vocals seeming like a mix of Judas Priest’s classic opener ‘The Hellion’ and Manowar’s more bombastic moments, before the whole thing settles into a great riff and a provides a chance for Udo to strut his stuff with the lyrics that are sort of like a more confusing and more silly version of David Bowie’s apocalyptic ‘Five Years,’ though clearly not intentionally. Judas Priest seems to be the main influence, particularly as the playing has generally slowed down from the more distinctive niche Accept had defined for itself with the earlier albums that would eventually be followed almost identically by fellow German bands Running Wild and later Grave Digger. The most impressive moment of this song sees a complete break-off for Hoffman’s guitar, which noodles around with a Beethoven melody before the other instruments get what he’s doing and enthusiastically join in. It’s sad that this is probably the highlight of the album at such an early point, at least from a metal fan’s perspective, but there are plenty more unexpected gems to unearth as the parade continues.

      ‘Midnight Mover’ is an extremely pop-oriented and frustratingly catchy track that I enjoy and despise in equal measure, taking the album back to the 70s with some early Judas Priest/Deep Purple style hard rock riffs and AC/DC vocals in the verses making Udo even more unbearable, and to top it all off, an overwhelmingly cheesy chorus that for me, instantly conjures the image of a fictional music video of the band performing in make-up and sparkly glitter under flashing pink lights, smooching at the camera. It’s not pleasant, and it’s a fairly embarrassing thing to admit I actually enjoy a little bit, but it at least makes me smile and that’s what’s important. ‘Up to the Limit’ continues the hard rock vein without the terrible pop chorus this time, and as such has no real distinguishing features either good or bad, and ‘Wrong is Right’ rejuvenates the metal influence with an injection of some distinctly Helloween-sounding guitars, particularly interesting as that band hadn’t even started making albums quite yet. The embarrassment of the aforementioned fifth track leads to the album’s dullest section that plays around with ‘Turbo’ style metal but throws up nothing of much interest apart from a nice solo or two, and things improve for the final few offerings.

      ‘Teach Us to Survive’ is the first song for some time that ends at just the right time, without becoming over-repetitive to bulk out the forty minutes, and features some interesting Spanish-tinged guitar as well as prominent and speedy bass playing and some questionable finger clicking accompaniment towards the end. ‘Living for Tonite’ lives up to its waste-not attitude by launching into full-scale solos right from the onset, though the tediously plodding drums have become pretty dull by this late point in the album, and the whole thing is concluded on a grand scale with ‘Bound to Fail,’ probably the best song aside from the title track. Everything about this final song seeks attention, and it’s clear from the opening lead guitar that we’re either listening to a Christmas song or a grand finale by a band that imagines itself to be ever-so-slightly better than it actually is. Air guitar fans will be in heaven once the song launches into a series of riffs and solos, while the choral vocals come back in full force in an attempt to out-do Manowar, probably succeeding at the point of recording but sadly failing in the ludicrous stakes compared to that band’s later extravagance.

      ‘Metal Heart’ isn’t the album I’d recommend for fans of heavy metal, or even more specifically the 80s German scene that spawned a number of successful bands still going strong today, but it’s easily the most accessible for a wider audience and doesn’t compromise too much to get there. Anyone who enjoyed ‘Turbo Lover’ should make it a top priority, after which you can smash that sell-out LP and join us over on the dark side.

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Metal Heart
      2 Midnight Mover
      3 Up to the Limit
      4 Wrong Is Right
      5 Screaming for a Love-Bite
      6 Too High to Get It Right
      7 Dogs on Leads
      8 Teach Us to Survive
      9 Living for Tonite
      10 Bound to Fail