Wednesday, 5 December 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Accept, “Symphonic Terror: Live at Wacken 2017”

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 23/11/2018
Label: Nuclear Blast

Taken for what this is, though, I can say that “Symphonic Terror” is immensely enjoyable and entertaining.  The album represents a unique performance and demonstrates a band at the top of their game


“Symphonic Terror: Live at Wacken 2017” CD//DD//LP track listing:

CD 1:
1. Die by the Sword
2. Restless and Wild
3. Koolaid
4. Pandemic
5. Final Journey
6. Night on Bald Mountain
7. Scherzo
8. Romeo and Juliet
9. Pathétique
10. Double Cello Concerto in G Minor
11. Symphony NO. 40 in G Minor

CD 2:

1. Princess of the Dawn
2. Stalingrad
3. Dark Side of My Heart
4. Breaker
5. Shadow Soldiers
6. Dying Breed
7. Fast as a Shark
8. Metal Heart
9. Teutonic Terror
10. Balls to the Wall

The Review:

Accept, as of last week, are now down to one original member- Wolf Hoffman. However, for this unique 2017 concert at Wacken, Peter Baltes was still there on bass- even if Hermann Frank had departed as rhythm guitarist. As has been documented in past reviews, I feel that Mark Tornillo is every bit as good as Udo Dirkschneider and he has now headed up the band for ten years. As the title suggests, this is a full live gig with a difference- the central portion of the performance marries Accept up with a symphony orchestra- which then stays for the latter half of the gig! The first section of the release is a straight ahead metal performance, the middle section features Hoffman with orchestra- utilising his “Headbangers Symphony” solo album as the basis- and the latter half of the record treats the audience to classic Accept songs accompanied by the orchestra.

So, how essential is this? Well, not essential at all. It's a live album with an orchestra attached to two thirds of it. However, that view may be doing this record a disservice. To be sure, the central section is very stirring indeed and is actually successful in combining metal with classical. Its leagues ahead of Metallica'sS & M” effort of nearly 20 (!?) years ago and much more interesting than Deep Purple's misfiring “Concerto for Group and Orchestra”. The latter part of the release is also an interesting experiment- but much more in the vein of Metallica's aforementioned effort.

I could not claim that “Princess of the Dawn” is enhanced by the presence of the orchestra, beyond it being... different and more grandiose. The band wisely chose some of its more theatrical and grand material for the latter half of the gig and it is a thrill to hear “Stalingrad with classical backing. I think the thing here is that if you like Accept, you will like this record.

I love Accept and they are one of the best live bands I have ever seen. Hearing their songs with a new twist is interesting and a diverting listen. Will this take over on regular rotation from the superb “Restless and Live” record from a year or two back? No. While “Symphonic Terror” does boast the chance to hear some of the tracks from “The Rise of Chaos” in a live setting it is too much of an oddity to usurp a straight ahead live record.

Taken for what this is, though, I can say that “Symphonic Terror” is immensely enjoyable and entertaining. The central orchestral section really works and is testament to Hoffman's ability as a writer and player that it sounds so grand and cinematic. The album represents a unique performance and demonstrates a band at the top of their game. Having released a straight ahead live compendium recently, the band can play around with its sound and put out this album- why not? Recommended to all Accept fans and fans of classical music. For those new to the band, start elsewhere.

“Symphonic Terror: Live At Wacken 2017” is available now

Band info: official || facebook