Album Review – Accept – Balls To the Wall

September 10, 2013 — Leave a comment

Accept – Balls to the Wall (1984)

Accept had been a band under the watchful eye of Mr. Udo Dirkschneider for about 13 years before they finally achieved serious success with this powerful, speed metal classic.

Sure, they had been noticed: the prior year, prescient metalheads (especially in Deutschland) had been treated to such influential Accept songs as “Fast As A Shark” and “Princess Of the Dawn.” But it was in 1984 when Accept would produce a record that would be a key influence on the still-nascent thrash metal movement both in Germany and all around the world.

LA-style hair metal did not yet have a complete stranglehold on the charts, but Accept was already cultivating an image and a sound that was the polar opposite of the fishnets and long hair of the Sunset Strip. Udo himself looked as if he was ready to walk down Sunset Boulevard cracking skulls: short blond hair, a penchant for camouflage and military boots, and fingerless gloves over his stubby fingers.

The songs on “Balls To the Wall” all have the sound of a revolution in the making, with the heavily-accented drums tracked to sound like the pounding thud of an army on the march and the gang-style vocals, going in a back-and-forth with Udo’s strangled growl of a voice. You’d expect to hear it shouted through a megaphone at the head of a political march. This image is best suited to the anthemic title track, “Balls To the Wall.”

1. Balls To the Wall

2. London Leatherboys

3. Fight It Back

4. Head Over Heels

5. Losing More Than You’ve Ever Had

6. Love Child

7. Turn Me On

8. Losers and Winners

9. Guardian of the Night

10. Winterdreams

 

But Accept’s strong approach is not limited to the first track–“London Leatherboys” finds the German band taking on a very “British” topic–bikers and leather. Lyricist Gaby Hauke (band manager t the time) lent a unique (for the time) female perspective on the late-night trysts of “Head Over Heels” and “Turn Me On,” simmering with sexual tension.

Overall the entire “Balls To the Wall” experience is one of a strident march tempo-wise, going double-time for “Fight It Back” and “Losers and Winners,” lessening to a stroll for the snow, fog, and church bells of “Winterdreams.”

Even considering Accept’s recent resurgence without Udo, for better or for worse the new lineup’s success will be compared to these halcyon days of the mid-1980s, when Accept was (and still is) one of the most exciting metal bands in the world.

 

Udo Dirkschneider

Wolf Hoffman

Hermann Frank\

Peter Baltes

Stefan Kaufmann

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