Essential listening: powerful, euphoric and unexpected. 9/10
It has been a decade since Accept reformed with Mark Tornillo on vocals and this show on August 3rd 2017 at Wacken Open Air Festival may well be their greatest yet. Thankfully, the show was recorded and you too can feel the might of a band at the top of their game entertaining a crowd of 80,000 metal fans, united.
The set covers the history of the band and so much more. Accept open with a fine selection of their more recent material, before guitarist (and founding member) Wolf Hoffmann takes to the helm to showcase material from his solo album Headbangers Symphony. For those unfamiliar with this release, it is classical pieces by some of the worlds greatest composers in a metal style and it is breath-taking. The closing section features the symphony orchestra accompanying the classic Accept tracks known and loved in addition to a choice selection of more recent material. Buckle up and enjoy two hours of exceptional musicianship and a little culture too!
Opening with a powerful rendition of Die By The Sword from The Rise of Chaos (2017), swiftly followed by a rousing Restless And Wild and the crowd go wild for this vintage 80’s track. Koolaid is again from their latest album and proves to be a hit. Pandemic from Blood of the Nations (2010) is delivered euphorically and its difficult not to envy those that were present in the company of such greatness. Final Journey (Blind Rage 2014) which incorporates Edvard Grieg’s Morning Mood (from Peer Gynt, 1875) in the studio version gives a small taster of what is to come as the orchestra joins the band on stage for some neo-classical metal!
Night On Bald Mountain is based on Modest Mussorgsky’s St John’s Eve on Bald Mountain– which is a ‘musical picture’ of a witches Sabbath (it may be familiar as The Chernabog demonic scene in Fantasia)! Atmospheric, powerful and a truly remarkable live performance. Scherzo is an interpretation of Beethovens Symphony No.9 (with added Teutonic Terror) and it rocks. Romeo And Juliet is gloriously dark and quite probably a more appropriate version for that damned ‘Apprentice’ show. Pathetique (Piano Sonata No.8, Beethoven-1798) gently unfurls with strings, before take off on a rollercoaster of riff ‘call and responses’ between Hoffmann and the string section. It’s clever, marvellously executed and truly innovative. Double Cello Concerto in G Minor by Vivaldi is primarily led by Hoffmann’s electric guitar with some outstanding bass action which gives it a pace and urgency that was sorely lacking in the 1720’s. Symphony No. 40 in G Minor is Mozart at his finest (one of only two symphonies he wrote in a minor key) for added darkness! The crowd is euphoric and so am I.
As Tornillo returns to the stage for Princess of the Dawn the audience almost drowns out the orchestra, thankfully not for long as this peculiar addition truly elevates this 80’s track to an unexpected high. Stalingrad becomes an epic beast, as does the anthemic and melancholy Dark Side Of My Heart (I’m embarrassed to confess I’m not as familiar with modern Accept, however this release has convinced me to change!) Breaker live with an orchestra is thoroughly joyous but Fast As A Shark is a personal favourite and evidently the crowd agrees. There’s even the intro and vinyl crackle effect, this symphonic rendition is brutally brilliant. The classic Metal Heart does not disappoint (Fur Elise by Beethoven seems even more relevant in the bridge now) and there is no arguing that Teutonic Terror is a modern classic. Despite my impatience, sadly Balls To The Wall finally arrives and heralds the close of this truly remarkable set. Try to refrain from singing along! Excitement levels would be through the roof if this was indoors and following this world premiere in Wacken, it has been suggested that Accept are planning to tour across Europe with an orchestra in spring 2019! Crash helmets on standby!
Wolf Hoffmann has stated
“I really hope we will be able to fulfil our dream – we are working hard on it! What I can already say now is that there will be lots of optical and musical surprises, that fans of Accept have never experienced before. We want to multiply what we have achieved in Wacken and are happy about every bit of support we get. One thing is for sure: 2019 will be exciting!“
If you have only ever listened to 80’s Accept, whether you only know Balls to the Wall or whether you are a lifelong fan this is essential listening. Powerful, euphoric and unexpected.
- Die By The Sword
- Restless And Wild
- Final Journey
- Night On Bald Mountain
- Romeo And Juliet
- Double Cello Concerto in G Minor
- Symphony No. 40 in G Minor
- Princess Of The Dawn
- Dark Side Of My Heart
- Shadow Soldiers
- Dying Breed
- Fast As A Shark
- Metal Heart
- Teutonic Terror
- Balls To The Wall
Accepts Symphonic Terror is available to purchase here
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