Let’s do something different for a change. The wind of change is so important. Let me perform a magic trick.
Black out your mind for a moment…
Now think of a German heavy rock band. Any German rock band. The first one that stings to mind…
See what I did there?
Of course you did. Black out your mind? Wind of change…stings to mind… I’m like Derren Brown, me.
To be fair, If you ask most people to name a German rock band from the eighties, their first answer would almost certainly be Scorpions, with or without the blindingly obvious attempt at Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Assuming they could name one. (You could have had Helloween, Warlock, Rammstein, er, um…) And yet this would be most unfair. Germany has a very vibrant metal scene. Apparently. Which some people might say it thoroughly deserves. However, instead of rummaging through The Scorpion’s moustaches, let’s talk about the second most famous German Metal band. Let’s talk about Accept.
This was a band who, in 1982 released one of the most impressive and furious metal songs of all time in Fast As A Shark – the opening track to classic metal album Restless and Wild. What a tune this is! One of the earliest examples of speed metal – as a sixteen year old, I don’t think I had heard anything quite like this song.
At a time when Styx and Foreigner were thrilling the rockers of America (thrilling them to sleep) with their Adult Orientated Rock, Accept were vandalising an old German folk song with a scratch and a scream before letting off some chainsaw guitars and reminding the Adults what they were missing.
There were some more amusing moments also. In 1984 they released a song called London Leather Boys in homage to their leather clad London heavy metal fan base who supported the band back when they didn’t have two Deutschmarks to scrape together. Amusingly, they failed to appreciate that there might be more than one interpretation of what demographic London’s Leather Boys might constitute – prompting one of the band to say, in an exasperated manner – “We are not a gay band!” after the umpteenth question about the song’s meaning (which was preceded on the album by dubiously titled title-track Balls To The Wall). All very amusing in the very macho (and pre-Rob Halford’s coming out) eighties Heavy Metal world.
I got my parents to buy me live EP Kaizoku Ban for Christmas one year – which meant Live Bootleg in Japanese. I didn’t realise it had a song on it called Screaming For A Lovebite – which is an odd title for a song by anyone’s standards. I can only guess how bemused my parents were by this as they gave it to their fifteen year old son on Christmas Day. (Previous year’s present: some magic tricks). It must have seemed that they were witnessing their son’s angel of innocence fluttering away in front of their eyes.
One of the things I liked to do with my friends at the time was to call the Essex Radio Rock show on a Thursday evening and ask them to play records. We’d all call multiple times, under ridiculous pseudonyms putting on fake accents and voices in order to pretend to be different people and improve our chances of winning prizes. They weren’t fooled for a moment, probably because hardly anyone else called in. Another clue would be that I would almost always request Accept at that time – Monster Man from the Russian Roulette album was a particular favourite. We never won…and they never played Accept – they always played interminable and obscure seventies stuff like Camel or Uriah Heep – of little interest to the Glam Rock and Thrash Metal generation, but you’d listen anyway just in case.
Diminutive barrel chested lead singer Udo Dirkschneider went solo after the Russian Roulette album releasing the Animal House LP under the imaginatively titled band name of Udo. It was written by his former band, in what was one of the least acrimonious splits in rock history. As always he sounded like he had been gargling some particularly coursely-ground glass, but it wasn’t the same.
But aside from Fast As A Shark, which most of the Heavy Metal Cognoscenti will be aware of, there was another song by Accept which summed up all the dubious joys of What’s Great About Heavy Metal in five brief minutes. It lurked, un-loved, on the end of the Metal Heart album released in ’85, and has quite the most bludgeoning riff that you might have wished to hear in the mid-eighties.
It’s called Bound To Fail. Give it a listen, and banish all that Winds-of-Change nonsense from your mind. German heavy metal isn’t everyone’s cup of lapsang souchong, but when it’s as daft and as wild and as heavy as this? Who can resist?*
* Quite a few of you I suspect – but give it a whirl anyway…
Record #121 : Accept – Bound To Fail
Categories: Heavy Metal