After 2010's brilliant comeback album Blood of the Nations, the German horde known as Accept had a big task in front of them to follow-up that stellar release with something equally as potent. Here we have Stalingrad, and I can easily say 'mission accomplished'. Now two albums in, leader singer Mike Tornillo has settled in quite nicely, hopefully leaving behind the shadow of his former band TT Quick and ex-Accept singer Udo Dirkschneider once and for all. Along with Wolf Hoffman, Peter Baltes, Herrman Frank, and Stefan Schwarzmann, the band sound completely rejuvinated, and with Andy Sneap once again at the production chair, Stalingrad sounds just as powerful as Blood of the Nations.
As you make your way through the CD, be prepared for one kick ass metal anthem after another. The first two tracks, "Hung, Drawn and Quartered" and "Stalingrad" feature some of the most potent classic styled metal riffs I've heard in a while, complete with Tornillo's lethal wail exploding through the mix. "Hellfire" and "Flash To Bang Time" crush with jackhammer intensity, as Hoffman & Frank lay down a wide variety of killer riffs and solos while Tornillo's lights up the skies with his Udo meets Ralf Scheepers styled screams. "Shadow Soldiers" is a dramatic and melodic power metal ballad, ready made to incite the listener to raise their fist and sing along to the anthemic chorus.
Did I mention Sneap's production? Holy hell this album sounds huge, and if you don't believe me check out Hoffman & Frank's crispity, crunchity mountain of riffage on the crushing "Revolution", or the stacked assualt of speed metal majesty that is "Against the World" for proof of his brilliance at getting the most out of an inspired band. The guitar wall of sound on "Twist of Fate" and "The Quick and the Dead" just never relents, with the rock solid rhythms and Tornillo's commanding vocals all fitting in perfectly. All these elements come together in epic fashion on the lengthy closer "The Galley", a romping, stomping beast of a metal anthem, with Tornillo sounding like a young Jon Oliva amidst massive riffage and catchy arrangements. And the lead guitar here and throughout is superb...just in case you were wondering.
Honestly, Stalingrad is one of the best sounding metal albums I've heard this year from a production standpoint. Accept + Andy Sneap= magic in my book. This band is firing on all cylinders right now, and with Blood of the Nations and Stalingrad they've released their strongest string of albums since Restless and Wild and Balls to the Wall, and arguably their best yet.
1. Hung, Drawn And Quartered (4:35)
2. Stalingrad (5:59)
3. Hellfire (6:07)
4. Flash To Bang Time (4:06)
5. Shadow Soldiers (5:47)
6. Revolution (4:08)
7. Against The World (3:36)
8. Twist Of Fate (5:30)
9. The Quick And The Dead (4:25)
10. The Galley (7:21)