Dirkschneider - 'Live: Back To The Roots - Accepted!'

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Dirkschneider - 'Live: Back To The Roots - Accepted!'

An absolute must in terms of a statement of what Melodic Metal was all about in the eighties.

Recorded last year on tour, this double album purports to be a record of the last time Udo Dirkschneider will perform Accept songs in his live set. Do I truly believe that? In my opinion, he'd be a fool to carry through with that idea, and probably lose half his audience in the process.

Like many Classic Rock bands, Accept didn't really make their mark until their third release, the spectacularly awesome 'Breaker' back in 1981. A few years ago, Dirkschneider admitted to me that this was his favourite Accept album, and it is well represented here with five of the twenty-five songs, including opener 'Starlight' – awesome riff, crap chorus. Back in their formative years, Accept had a firm grasp of melody as well as an ear for infectious Metallic riffing, evidenced here by the likes of the frantic title track 'Breaker', supremely catchy 'Midnight Highway' and the joyous Metal Boogie of 'Burning'. Of course, they also had their darker, more venomous side, with 'Son Of A Bitch' being "Exhibit A" here.

The majority of European Metal fans most likely got into Accept via 'Restless And Wild' in 1982, opening track 'Fast As A Shark' being a rampant proto Speed Metal track that ratcheted the power and intensity right up to "eleven", and here fleshed out in all its glory by Dirkschneider and his UDO cohorts, guitar duo Andrey Smirnov and Kasperi Heikkenen deserving of special mention. With this album, Accept also proved they could write epic songs, both 'Neon Nights' and 'Princess Of The Dawn' becoming instant classics... although whether performing them here, back-to-back in expanded ten-minute plus versions, is a good idea, I personally don't think so. These tracks really needed splitting up across the set to stop the attention wandering.

'Balls To The Wall' was the album that broke Accept in the USA, but for me, the songs were a let-down; the likes of 'Head Over Heels' and 'Losers And Winners' coming across as little more than generic mediocrity. 'London Leatherboys' fairs a little better, and the title track will always be a slow-burning epic. Thankfully, the following album, 'Metal Heart', was a return to epic splendour, with the irresistibly catchy Pop/Metal of 'Midnight Mover' and 'Screaming For A Love-Bite' evoking fond memories of earlier releases, while the title track remains an instant epic classic. For me, this was the last truly great Accept album, the following 'Russian Roulette' being a traumatic disappointment, a feeling seemingly shared by Dirkschneider, with only two tracks featuring here − 'TV War' and 'Monsterman' − neither causing me to re-evaluate my previous opinion.

Dirkschneider's post-reunion releases with Accept are dead to me, so awful are they, and it would seem the man himself agrees with not a single song from those three albums featured here. However, that just ups the quotient of truly great songs to be found on this utterly indispensable collection (also out on DVD and Blu-ray), an absolute must in terms of a statement of what Melodic Metal was all about in the eighties. It's also a reminder to the Accept of today that "heavy" can be cool and fun, but the melody and riffs will always be where your heritage... and classics... lie.

Bruce Mee

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