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Accept: All Areas - Worldwide (reissue)
Originally released back in 1997, All Areas - Worldwide was the third live release from German Metal masters Accept, unwittingly at the time, forming a farewell from the band. Nineteen tracks spread across two discs actually documents two different world tours, 1993's "Objection Overruled" and 1994's "Death Row", allowing an interesting mix of classics and at the time fresh songs to mingle more freely than a traditional live album from the time would probably have.
All eleven tracks on disc one and also three from disc two come from the Overruled tour, introducing three Objection… tracks to a set brimming with undeniable Accept defining moments such as "Starlight", "Breaker", "Restless And Wild" and "Fast As A Shark". "Metal Heart" becomes a fan chant-along, the audience taking up the classically inspired lead line from guitarist Wolf Hoffmann to the extent that he basically allows them to get on with it. It is a masterclass in band-crowd interaction, but unfortunately one counteracted slightly by an overlong rendition of the otherwise excellent "Balls To The Wall", which loses its edge in this extended form. Still, the reformed classic line-up of Hoffmann, bassist Peter Baltes, singer Udo Dirkschneider and drummer Stefam Kaufmann were on top form and surprisingly the band paring down to a single guitar outfit for the first time worked amazingly well - even though Kaufmann admits in the informative liner notes of this Cherry Red reissues that with hindsight not bringing in a second guitarist was a mistake.
Unfortunately the way the album was originally formatted causes it to lose a little of its expected punch; some of the songs fading out as the crowd cheer gives the feel of a compilation set, rather than a tour document (even if more than one show was actually used to create the album). Although oddly, this isn't the case between every song, which merely adds to the lack of cohesion. However that and the lengthy "Balls…" aside there isn't a complaint here, Objection tracks "I Don't Wanna Be Like You", "Slaves To Metal" and "Bulletproof" slotting in to the set like old favourites (which they now are of course), while it simply isn't possible to tire of hearing songs like "Too High To Get It Right" or "Princess Of The Dawn".
By the time of the Death Row tour, drummer Kaufmann had left the band due to health issues, with his place being taken by Stefan Schwarzmann (Running Wild/UDO/Helloween), although the departing drummer did actually produce this double live set; the band also continuing on as a one guitar act. However where the six additional songs let this album down is not through the performances of band members new or old, or indeed the songs themselves, but purely through all six being from the Death Row album. Good though that album is, the pacing of All Areas - Worldwide (issued in some regions of the world as The Final Chapter due to the band having split before it was actually released - cleverly this reissue carries the art for both versions, allowing to choose which you want to "display") suffers as a result. All the classics are squeezed into the first two thirds of the double disc set and while hearing less celebrated moments such as "The Beast Inside", "Stone Evil" and "What Else" in a live setting is a pleasure, they do pale slightly having followed, as they do, all the fan favourites.
Niggles aside, All Areas - Worldwide finds a band right at the top of their game and confounding critics who had written them off on several occasions. It may not be the band's strongest live offering, but considering that accolade goes to a six track EP (Kaizoku-Ban is included on the Cherry Red reissue of Metal Heart, if you haven't heard it), then this album comes a close second. Accept fans need to have it, Euro-Metal need to have it. It really is that simple.
2. London Leatherboys
3. I Don't Wanna Be Like You
5. Slaves To Metal
6. Princess Of The Dawn
7. Restless And Wild
8. Son Of A Bitch
9. This One's For You
11. Too High To Get It Right
1. Metal Heart
2. Fast As A Shark
3. Balls To The Wall
4. What Else
5. Sodom And Gomorra
6. The Beast Inside
7. Bad Habits Die Hard
8. Stone Evil
9. Death Row
Added: June 4th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: All Areas - Worldwide at Cherry Red
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