The late-career resurgence of Accept has been hard-won. The German heavy metal band has endured three splits in its 40-some-year existence, original vocalist Udo Dirkschneider left the band in 2005, and the genre lately favors extremity to craft. But since 2010, Accept's been revived by the voice of Mark Tornillo (TT Quick), alternating between a snake-like rasp and a sandworm squeal, fronting founding members Wolf Hoffman (guitar) and Peter Baltes' (bass) fist-raising anthems, like "Final Journey" from the band's 14th album, Blind Rage.
"Final Journey" has all of the band's signature moves: a bevvy of cocksure riffs balanced by a strong melody, not to mention Herman Frank continuing to prove Wolf Hoffman's most sympathetic, yet challenging guitar foil. Lest you think the song title signals the end of Accept, Tornillo writes over email: "'Final Journey' is certainly not about Accept, but about all of us. Eventually, we all take that final journey and when we do, we will most surely travel alone. 'Where to?' is the question!"
Accept is also no stranger to classical themes (see: the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky-referencing "Metal Heart" or Aram Khchaturian's Armenian folk melody heard in "Sodom & Gomorrah"). But it is surprising to hear Edvard Grieg's "Morning Mood" in the last minutes of "Final Journey," especially pitting Grieg's theme that conjures spring and new-ness to a song about death. Wolf Hoffmann writes that his love for classical music "became a standard around 1980":
When I write a song, it mostly starts with a riff. A riff sets a mood, a mood sets my emotions in motion and then ... a bridge evolves between that mood and the most wonderful pieces written by the Old Masters. I do not have to search for what would make it into a song. I seem to have an endless pool of remembrance .... It is always there when I need it.
Blind Rage comes out Aug. 19 on Nuclear Blast.