By Carl Begai
In 2010, German metal legends Accept ended a 14 year hiatus with Blood Of The Nations, an album that went over a storm in spite of the band doing the unthinkable (again) by replacing original vocalist Udo Dirkschneider. News that former T.T. Quick singer Mark Tornillo was fronting the band created a nasty buzz amongst Accept diehards, many of whom regarded the Eat The Heat record from 1989 a monumental bomb due to the addition of David Reece in place of Accept’s iconic original singer. Blood Of The Nations was anything but a failure, however, silencing the naysayers with band’s strongest record since 1993’s Objection Overruled and serving as a launchpad for a decade of metal mayhem. Too Mean To Die is Accept’s latest offering five albums in from their comeback, and it’s fair to say anyone who has stuck around since then or was weaned on the Restless And Wild, Balls To The Wall and Metal Heart albums will find it delivers the expected goods.
Asked if it registers that a decade has indeed passed since the Blood Of The Nations comeback, guitarist Wolf Hoffmann says “it sounds like a long time, but really, it goes by so quickly. But, sometimes I’m amazed at how much we’ve done in the last 10 years. Five albums, I made a solo album, we made a live album, we’ve toured all over the world. Yeah, we’ve done a lot (laughs).”
One of Accept’s last road trips before getting to work on Too Mean To Die was 2019’s Symphonic Terror Tour through Europe with the Orchestra Of Death. It was an important tour for several reasons and in truth was meant to be a Wolf Hoffmann solo tour. It simply grew to become an entirely different animal during the planning stages.
“That tour was really a lot of fun” says Hoffmann. “I have to say it’s one of the best tours I’ve ever done in my life from a musical and personal standpoint. It was very satisfying. And the funny thing is, yeah, it was supposed to be a Wolf Hoffmann tour; Accept snuck in as an afterthought. Originally I was going to go on tour with my solo project and an orchestra, but then it happened step-by-step that everyone said ‘Well, if you’re going to be on stage you’re going to play ‘Balls To The Wall’, right? You’re going to play ‘Metal Heart’, right?’ And you can’t really do that without a singer, which is how the Accept guys ended up getting involved. It was hard to communicate with the outside saying that it was an Accept show with an orchestra, because I was playing all these instrumentals during the show, but what are you gonna do? I just wanted to play stuff from my solo album (Headbanger’s Symphony) and we wanted to play some Accept stuff, so we did a 50-50 thing.”
Continue reading BraveWords Interview: ACCEPT – Screaming For A Wolf Bite
By Carl Begai
The first four seconds into the new album, Headbanger’s Symphony, are enough to slam dunk the 11-track opus into the Accept catalogue. Never mind that opening track “Scherzo” is an adaptation of Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9” featuring a tip of the hat to the band’s “Teutonic Terror”; the record has guitarist Wolf Hoffmann written all over it, featuring popular classical music pieces adapted for the metal crowd. The results are quite often stunning if you’re open to instrumental metal without the loopy Steve Vai craziness. For those Accept and/or Hoffmann fans that think this is something new for the legendary axe-master, however, not so…
“I made a classical album 20 years ago (Classical) and I’ve always been the guy doing that sort of thing in Accept songs, so it wasn’t totally unexpected,” says Hoffmann. “At the same time, it took forever to get this album finished so I’m super excited that it’s finally here.”
The delay in getting Headbanger’s Symphony was due to the fact Accept has always been Hoffmann’s top priority, particularly since their 2010 comeback album, Blood Of The Nations, pretty much blew the roof off the metal scene for being one of the strongest records released that year
“The majority of the album started before Accept got back together,” Hoffmann reveals, “so it was at a stage where it was almost ready but the recordings weren’t finalized. The tracks were written and the project was in my head, it was all demo-ed and good to go, and then Accept started back up. So whenever there was a couple weeks free, like over Christmas, or things slowed down I went at it again. And again and again (laughs).” Continue reading BraveWords Interview: ACCEPT Guitarist WOLF HOFFMANN Goes Teutonic Symphonic
By Carl Begai
How about an Accept story that doesn’t involve discussion about former vocalist Udo Dirkschneider and his personal issues with the band? On top of that, let’s not talk about a possible reunion with the U.D.O frontman because, at this point in Accept’s career, stirring that pot is just plain bad manners bordering on insulting. Nope, the focus here is on Blind Rage, the band’s third go-round with singer Mark Tornillo, which the fans have been praising to high heaven according to guitarist Wolf Hoffmann. In fact, some diehards have actually gone on record calling Blind Rage the best of the three records in this “new” Accept’s catalogue. Brave words indeed, particularly when stacking it up against Blood Of The Nations, the band’s bold 2010 return that amounted to a “We’re back!” eargasm for their legion of fans.
Interestingly, Blind Rage comes off as being somewhat less heavy in places compared to Blood Of The Nations and its follow-up, Stalingrad. Call it classic heavy Accept with more melody and dynamics thrown into the mix, just like the good old days of Breaker (1981) and Restless And Wild (1982). Almost as if Hoffmann and bassist Peter Baltes experimented with branching out from what they know works for Accept fans in 2014.
“I’m not sure we did,” Hoffmann counters. “If anything I think we tried to hone it into what Accept really is. I think ‘experiment’ is a bad word to use. There are songs on Stampede that are more melodic, but all in all it’s totally Accept to me. A good song is a good song, and we always try to concentrate on songwriting more than anything, and if things sound a little softer or more melodic here and there, so be it. We’ve always been about melody in our songs. As long as people like it I’m happy.” Continue reading BraveWords Interview: ACCEPT – The New Age Of Rage
By Carl Begai
This interview is testament to the fact that no matter how cutting edge present day technology may be, it’ll never replace old school principles.
Booked for a phone interview in the midst of a European tour, Accept guitarist Wolf Hoffmann dutifully took on the task during a travel day, only to be confronted with a mobile signal that refused to cooperate as the band’s tour bus hurtled down one of Germany’s highways. Thus, two dropped calls later and Hoffmann questioning the wisdom of interviews being scheduled while the band is in transit, he opted not to call back a third time, leaving BW&BK with half an interview and a half-baked story. Fast forward 24 hours to an unplanned and completely unexpected phone call from Hoffmann, settled in his pre-show (and stationary) hotel room, who had chosen to step up of his own free will and finish the job rather than write us off as a digital-age hiccup.
Not that Accept desperately needs the coverage. Hoffmann is certainly happy to have it, but the buzz surrounding the band’s new album, Stalingrad, is as loud and in-you-face as the justified hype their rousing 2010 comeback, Blood Of The Nations.
“I guess we’re just firing on all cylinders at the moment,” muses Hoffmann. “We were away for quite some time, so maybe that recharged out batteries enough to give us the energy to keep going like this, but sometimes I ask myself how we’ve managed to do it again. I don’t know. We just go out and do it.”
Stalingrad marks Accept’s second outing with vocalist Mark Tornillo, who replaced original singer Udo Dirkschneider behind the mic for the reunion when the U.D.O. frontman made it brutally clear he wasn’t interested. Months of touring behind classic and new Blood Of The Nations material quite naturally tightened the bonds of this new Accept incarnation, suggesting the band was much more focused going in to do Stalingrad.
“It wasn’t dramatically different,” Hoffmann says of the creative process. “The only difference was that we were, as you said, a little more in tune with what we were going for. When we made Blood Of The Nations we were fishing a little bit; where does Accept belong in 2010? We weren’t sure if we should go the totally old school way or of we should try to incorporate some newer elements in out sound. But, because everything worked out so well with Blood Of The Nations we kind of decided not to change a winning formula. We just tried to come up with new songs that were as good as the one on Blood Of The Nations. The ideas on Stalingrad are fresh along the same lines, and that was our goal.” Continue reading BW&BK Interview: ACCEPT – Lessons From The Old School: Class Is Now In Session
By Carl Begai
During a recent interview with producer / guitarist Andy Sneap about working with his childhood heroes Hell (found here), we discussed the hands-on role he played in putting German legends Accept back into the spotlight with their 2010 comeback album, Blood Of The Nations. Calling the record a success is a massive understatement given the fact the band did it without original frontman Udo Dirkschneider, receiving praise for creating some of the strongest material of their career. Not only was Mark Tornillo embraced as Accept’s new vocalist, the songs as a whole seemed to reach back to the band’s classic early works without sounding dated. Guitarist Wolf Hoffmann has gone on record in numerous interviews claiming that Sneap was single-handedly responsible for kick-starting the Accept machine back to life, and while Sneap downplays his influence, he’s happy to be on board for the follow-up.
“I’m doing the new Testament album, and that should last about six weeks, so I’m looking at the end of August to start working on the next Accept record. I’ll pop over to Nashville and sit down with Wolf to go over ideas on that. The good thing about that and the Hell record, and the Testament record as well, is that I’m actually quite involved from the ground up. I’m not just coming in, pressing buttons and just recording the band; I’m actually a valued person to bounce ideas off. It’s almost like being an extra member of the band.” Continue reading ACCEPT – Blame Andy…