Sound — 8
Accept have been channeling the course of a momentous return-to-form throughout the past five years, with lead vocalist Mark Tornillo now standing proudly at the helm of the band. After a public war-of-words between original frontman Udo Dirkschneider and the remainder of the current Accept lineup, the heavy metal heavyweights reunited in 2009 with the aid of Tornillo, whose dynamic vocal range arguably surpasses that of his uninterested predecessor. The band would later go on to release their near-universally acclaimed comeback album "Blood of the Nations" back in 2010, and reinforced this status with their 2012 effort "Stalingrad."
Rather than continue to follow the predominantly heavy metal suit established during their previous two offerings, the members of Accept instead find themselves turning to the definitive works of their earlier years and returning with a collection of material which couldn't be more representative of what a dedicated fan would want to hear from this veteran collective. "Blind Rage" is heavily scattered with clever ties to such hailed studio efforts as "Metal Heart" and "Balls to the Wall," beginning with the climatic lead guitar introduction to the album's opening number, "Stampede," which ultimately follows the notion proposed by it's title with an avalanche of kick drum percussion, accelerating primal screams and blistering guitar work.
A more apparent "Reckless and Wild" vibe is attributed on "Dark Side of My Heart," which begins with a distinctive Wolf Hoffmann guitar lick that stands up against the most memorable he's crafted in the past decade. Similarly expansive playing is found on "Wanna Be Free," which implements a choice cascade of articulate acoustic guitar before transitioning into a traditional hard hitting anthem. In what is a heavily diverse offering for a band so far into their musical career, "Blind Rage" often alternates between engaging speed metal ala "Fast as a Shark" to melody-bracketed compositions like "Screaming for a Love Bite." This contrast can throw the listener in a bit of a loop, especially as we move from the rip roaring "Bloodbath Mastermind" to the peaceful introduction of "From the Ashes We Rise," however such moments are scarce and are quickly reprimanded through dominating musicianship and chant-along choruses. Such tracks as "Fall of the Empire" and "The Curse" fall between the cracks of these categorizations, instead boasting mid-tempo compositions which develop inspiring lyrical themes of overcoming oppression, whether that be tyrannical political oppression or more personal conflicts.
Lyrics — 8
Mark Tornillo has been applauded by the majority of dedicated Accept fans for reviving this once extinct heavy metal band, and it's not that difficult to see why throughout "Blind Rage." Tornillo's range provides plenty of room for Accept to experiment with a variety of tempos and stylistic frontiers, ranging from heart racing screamers to vocal harmony-led riff rockers. As far as his lyrical work is concerned, "200 Years" easily stands as one of the most appealing selections on Accept's new effort, as Mark Tornillo tells the story of a planet where the human race has long been extinct as the result of senseless nuclear war, and Earth has begun the process of repairing the damage caused by it's now vanquished parasite by enlisting the aid of continent spanning glaciers to remove any evidence of mankind's existence.
Overall Impression — 8
From complimentarily graphic lyrical themes to impressive musical authority, Accept unleash one of their strongest offerings in recent memory on "Blind Rage." The addition of Mark Tornillo remains a vital one on his third effort as a member of Accept, as his range allows the rest of the lineup to craft material which more heavily represents that of their earlier years.