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Friday 16 November 2018

Reviews: Accept, Artillery, Wasted Theory, Bitter Heart (Reviews By Paul H)

Accept: Symphonic Terror - Live At Wacken 2017 (Nuclear Blast)

A two-hour show recorded at last year’s Wacken Festival captures Accept at full force. Split into three parts, after an opening salvo of classics and new material, the middle section is handed over to guitarist Wolf Hoffman, presenting a best of from his recent solo album Headbanger’s Symphony accompanied by a symphony orchestra before Accept reassembled to conclude the show with a range of Accept classics supported by the orchestra. Whilst the new material ticks all the boxes, listing tracks such as Restless And Wild next to Koolaid highlights that the older songs still work best. The orchestral section works fine, although I struggled with Hoffman’s release at the time it came out. Big, bombastic and fabulous sounding on the stereo, I did wonder how this would have presented itself during a mud-drenched festival where what you really want is banger after banger. Its more suited to a classical concert hall but entertaining enough.

Once the band return to the stage, things get a lot more interesting with a racing Princess Of The Dawn followed by a majestic Stalingrad kicking off the best part of the set. A mix of classics such as Breaker, Metal Heart and Fast As A Shark mix with newer tracks and if you like Accept, and let’s face it, if you don’t you are wrong, then this is where the band show their strength. The orchestral strings and brass that accompanies these latter tracks do provide a neat touch, with the atmospheric backdrop to one of the original thrash tracks Fast As A Shark particularly good but you do get the feeling that Accept are just doing what they do and the orchestra have been told to “keep up”. It’s easy listening in metal terms, no-nonsense and thoroughly enjoyable. I’m just glad I didn’t have to stand in the pissing rain to listen to it. 8/10

Artillery: The Face Of Fear (Metal Blade Records)

Named after a Tank track, I’m somewhat surprised that we’ve never reviewed an album by the Danish thrashers Artillery. The band, who reformed in 2007, have been stable in line-up since 2012 and The Face Of Fear is their ninth album. Original members Michael and Morten St├╝tzer continue to bring the shred, with some excellent trash riffage throughout. Old school thrash when delivered and constructed with care can be very enjoyable and I enjoyed the retro style which the band doggedly follow. Sworn Utopia screams ‘faster’ as the track progresses, whilst New Rage is a gnarly old thrash beastie which any metal head should enjoy.

Vocalist Michael Bastholm Dahl can hold a note and shows a superb set of pipes throughout. Clean, powerful and most impressive. Whilst I could have done without the sentimental mush of Pain, which appears to have been pinched from the Scorpions cutting room floor, a couple of rerecorded versions of Mind Of No Return and Doctor Evil round off an enjoyable album which is well worth a listen. 7/10

Wasted Theory: Warlords Of The New Electric (Argonauta Records)

Thumping American weed rock is brought to you by the letters W and T; Wasted Theory mix a 70s swagger with blues undertones, more than a nod to deep fried Southern metal and some fine stoner anthems to massive effect. The influences of COC, Alabama Thunderpussy, Orange Goblin and the like are evident, but this is no covers band. Larry Jackson Jr on vocals and guitar, Andrew Petkovic on guitar and drummer Brendan Burns have a sound all their own and whilst it is very much in the dope smoking groove style, there is much to enjoy on a riff heavy beast of an album. 7/10

Bitter Heart: Rotten (Dualism Records)

Formed in Tunisia in 2016, this is a satisfying release from somewhat surprisingly, a power trio. Blending the anguish of Grunge, the raw energy of metal and the heavy riffage of stoner rock into an interesting and eclectic selection of songs. Melik Melek Khelifa, who delivers some heartfelt vocals and sweet guitar work is joined by Dawser Kheddher on backing vocals and bass and drummer Selim Jabbes. It’s not all navel gazing mind, as the retrospective flavour of Kill Your Dreams and Heartless is matched by the slightly less serious Psychopathic Evil Woman From Hell and the equally delightful Dense Motherfucker Piece Of Shit. Well worth a listen. 7/10

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