CD Reviews

Accept - 'Russian Roulette' / 'Eat The Heat' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 19, 2014    
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Reissues of two classic Accept albums.

I can still remember buying ‘Russian Roulette’ in 1986 and being mightily letdown when I played it. Gone were the abundant melodies and commerciality of ‘Metal Heart’ to be replaced by a harder-edged sound, still typical Accept but lacking the hooks that earlier classics had in spades. I’m pretty sure I didn’t listen to it again, such was my abject disappointment, but time-displaced hindsight is a wonderful thing, as is context. Sure, compared to previous Accept releases, ‘...Roulette’ was disappointing, but compared to the three post reunion albums, it is a venerable masterpiece! Opener ‘TV War’ is typical Accept, all frantic riffs and pedal-to-the-metal drumming and isn’t half bad. The title track is an attempt to recreate the vibe of ‘Balls To The Wall’ and is much better than I remember, with fluid melodic soloing. ‘Heaven Is Hell’ is another attempted epic, with way too much talking and a similar ‘Balls...’ slow grind.

Elsewhere, too many of the songs are played perfectly well but totally lack those memorable choruses that Accept were so famed for. The last two tracks improve with the Deep Purple influenced ‘Man Enough To Cry’, Wolf Hoffmann channeling Ritchie Blackmore quite perfectly, and the up-tempo, melodic gang vocals of ‘Stand Tight’. Unfortunately, the three live bonus tracks, ‘Neon Nights’, ‘Burning’ and ‘Head Over Heels’ serve only to remind us what a force Accept used to be. The writing must have clearly been on the wall, as after this album Udo Dirkschneider left to form U.D.O. and the search was on for his replacement.

Which leads us quite nicely to the second re-release, 1987’s ‘Eat The Heat’, which saw relatively unknown American vocalist David Reece fill Dirkschneider’s sizeable jackboots. The label hierarchy wanted a more commercial approach and recalled Dieter Dierks to produce, who’d previously worked with the band on the very commercial ‘Metal Heart’. Although all the songs had already been written before Reece arrived, the resulting release certainly saw a different side to Accept. The original vinyl release being very much an album of two sides, with side B containing some of Accept’s most overtly melodic, and dare one say AOR, songs yet released. I still remember the furore caused when I reviewed the album for Boulevard back in 1989 …“What are Accept doing in an AOR publication?!!” Bear with me.

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Those fans familiar with Reece now through his work with Bangalore Choir and solo output might be quite surprised at just how Rob Halford he could sound, when desired. Opener ‘X.T.C.’ sounds like nothing other than a redone ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Coming’, which is no bad thing really. ‘Generation Clash’ sees Accept try to re-write ‘Balls...’ for the umpteenth time, while ‘Chain Reaction’ is much more melodic, but rather non-descript, as is ‘Love Sensation’. ‘Turn The Wheel’ sees the band aping Judas Priest once again, with Reece doing a surely sue-able Dave Lee Roth type rap mid song.

Things get better from hereon in. ‘Hellhammer’ is classic Accept with an absolutely massive, melodic bridge. ‘Prisoner’ meanwhile is just so unlike Accept, a kind of merging of Skagarack and Purple by the way of ‘Hungry For A Game’ and ‘Knocking At Your Back Door’; simply awesome! ‘I Can’t Believe In You’ is similarly delightful Melodic Rock, eschewing all the usual Accept trademarks. ‘Mistreated’, while not a Purple cover, is an epic nine minute power ballad with Reece at times evoking David Coverdale and Hoffmann again channeling Blackmore at his inspiring best. ‘Stand For What You Are’ is an up-tempo Melodic Rocker in the style of Sinner and Bonfire with a Twisted Sister lyrical slant, while ‘Break The Ice’ simply screams Dio’s ‘We Rock’. Album closer ‘D-Train’ brings back the classic Accept riffs and vocal style, but fails due to a depressingly awful chorus.

So there you have it, Reece’s single Accept album, and one which has become a bit of a curio within the band’s discography. However, for fans of quality Hard Melodic Rock, it certainly should not be dismissed.

Bruce Mee

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