Tuesday 1 January 2019

Album Review: ACCEPT - Symphonic Terror: Live At Wacken 2017

01. Die By The Sword
02. Restless And Wild
03. Koolaid
04. Pandemic
05. Final Journey
06. Night On Bald Mountain (Mussorgy)
07. Scherzo (Beethoven)
08. Romeo And Juliet (Prokofiev)
09. Pathétique (Beethoven)
10. Double Cello Concerto (Vivaldi)
11. Symphony No.40 (Mozart)
12. Princess Of The Dawn
13. Stalingrad
14. Dark Side Of My Heart
15. Breaker
16. Shadow Soldiers
17. Dying Breed
18. Fast As A Shark
19. Metal Heart
20. Teutonic Terror
21. Balls To The Wall

Filmed at Wacken Festival in front of a crowd of 80,000 Metal fans, Symphonic Terror is far more than your ordinary live album. The set was split into three parts. The first was just Accept doing their thing for five songs. The second was guitarist Wolf Hoffman playing selections from his solo album Headbangers Symphony with a full symphonic orchestra, covering and metalising well-known pieces of Classical music. Then the third set was Accept playing a set of their own classics accompanied by the orchestra.

Whenever bands do collaborations with orchestras, it reminds me of Spinal Tap. In fairness, the Metal and Classical genres often work well together, as Deep Purple and Metallica have shown with their legendary orchestral projects. Yes, these things are 'over-the-top', a little ridiculous, and have an air of pretentiousness about them, but when the styles gel so perfectly, there is something undeniably awesome that can happen.

The production here is absolutely superb, and the musicianship is as flawless as one would expect from these master-craftsmen accompanied by a professional orchestra. Everything is huge and larger than life, which makes this album not only work, but amount to a monumental achievement and an essential piece of the band's legacy.

I'm also pleased that the set-list is not 'Udo-era' heavy, and that there are loads of songs from the more recent albums Mark Tornillo sang on, showing that Accept are not only proud of their recent works, but are still very much a current and relevant band. It would have been easy for them to slip into the 'nostalgia autopilot mode', especially considering both the volume and quality of their repertoire, but they're still creating music that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with their classic material. Having said that, I'll never get bored of songs like Fast As A Shark and Metal Heart, and hearing them with the orchestra really gives them a 'lick of paint'. Also, hearing a song like Balls To The Wall with the classical backing is just so immensely cool, words fail me.


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