Tuesday, April 17, 2012
March to Stalingrad
After Accept regrouped and finally realized their longtime vocalist Udo Dirkschneider was not coming back, they enlisted vocalist Mark Tornillo from little known eighties band T.T Quick. Tornillo’s ruff and gruff attitude and vocal style combined with Wolf Hoffman’s meaty guitar riffs rounded out an impressive comeback album talking about nations’ bloodied histories. The German heavy metal stalwarts have now focused their efforts on a single nation and put a stamp on the city named by the tyrant in honor of himself, Stalingrad.
The first salvo, “Hung, Drawn, and Quartered” starts the proceedings off with a bang with a great guitar intro followed by an aggressive riff. The boys pick up where “Blood of the Nations” left off with a strong, thick guitar tone and Tornillo sounds more aggressive in his vocal delivery. He even has some resemblance to the little man with the mighty voice who preceded him. The chorus in the up-tempo “Flash to Bang Time” and “The Quick and the Dead” showcase the Udo-side of Tornillo.
Hoffman is one the most underrated guitar players to wield the axe. The riffs he writes and the melodic solos he delivers are some of the best one could write. The solo in the title track sounds like the red army taking its march to its national anthem and the outro to “The Galley” provides some serenity to a furious album. He comes back with a biting riff in “Hellfire” which has stuck with since first giving it a listen. This is definitely one of the highlights of the album.
The best song is the fist-pumping “Shadow Soldiers.” It has a great, prideful riff and an inspiring vocal performance by Tornillo. The chorus is remarkable and I can see this going over very well in the live setting. The aforementioned “The Quick and the Dead” has a riff similar to Motley Crue’s “Livewire”, but it works and the drum performance by Stefan Schwarzmann is a highlight.
All the tracks flow at a steady pace, but the only ones that failed to grab me are the drab “Against the World” and “Twist of Fate.” The former is basically a standard metal cooker, but there is nothing of note that stands out. The latter is a slow burner which features some nice bass work courtesy of Peter Baltes, but it never reaches its full potential as it tries to strike an emotional chord, but it doesn’t happen.
When it’s all said and done, you cannot go wrong with this album. If you liked “Blood of the Nations”; then this will not disappoint and it does not overstay its welcome as the last one clocked in at long time while “Stalingrad” finishes at just under an hour. The German boys have hit their stride since regrouping with Tornillo as any listener will have no problem head-banging through the streets of Stalingrad.