Accept: Eat The Heat (Reissue)
If Russian Roulette ended up being the bookend album of Accept's most successful and celebrated period, then its follow up, Eat The Heat, is undoubtedly their most maligned. Not only had the vocal focal point of Udo Dirkschneider decided, amicably, to depart the ranks, but so had guitarist Jorg Fischer. Hence three years after RR, Accept returned with a new singer, a new guitar-slinger, Jim Stacey (who poses on the Eat The Heat cover, but didn't actually feature on the songs) and, crucially, a new sound.
The search to replace Udo was a long and hard one, with Baby Tuckoo frontman Rob Armitage initially brought in to the fold and announced as the band's new singer. However with a set of demos under their belts with the UK singer, cracks began to appear and it wasn't long before Armitage was out, almost as quickly as he was in. Michael White (a Robert Plant-alike) was close to the job, before the relatively unknown former Dare Force and Sacred Child singer David Reece finally bagged the slot.
By the time Reece had come onboard almost all of the music for Eat The Heat was written, so the accusations that the surprisingly commercial (for the day) Metal sound that infuses tracks like "X-T-C", or "Love Sensation", was his doing, were wide of the mark. Although there's no denying his smoother, bourbon soaked delivery is a complete about turn from the barking Udo. However Reece was (and still is, check out Bangalore Choir) a fine voice to front this sort of music and in truth the problem the critics had was more to do with the smoother, slicker, dare I say, more American sound that Eat possessed. Still, "Hellhammer", or "Turn The Wheel" still had traditional Accept-isms throughout, although the former does have a strong hint of W.A.S.P. about it and even these tracks hit in a less strident fashion than Accept had before; something which also holds especially true for "Prisoner" and "Stand 4 What U R". Even for someone like myself, who at the time (and I still do) had a record collection brimming with this sort of fare, the change was stark and, truth be told, unwelcome. However time is a healer, as they say, and the same is true here, for while Eat The Heat may never be seen as a classic Accept album, one thing it is, is damn well written and classily constructed, and in that light there's no denying that at the time it was harshly judged. For while it was a shock, hindsight proves Eat The Heat to be the sort of stuff US audiences were lapping up in 1989 and deserved to be judged as such. That said, there's no getting away from the fact that while Eat The Heat was never given a fair hearing at the time, that's merely because that if folks had wanted an album that sounded like Kiss meets Britny Fox, then they'd have bought either a Kiss or Britny Fox album (indeed I did both!) and not an Accept platter - for that the debut UDO album, Animal House (ironically written by the Accept writing team as well - now that is an amicable split!) was a far better choice... In that light it is no surprise that the experiment didn't last long, Reece departing and Accept folding, and that until 2010's superb Blood Of Nations and 2012's Stalingrad (with the excellent Mark Tornillo on vocals), Accept would only venture forth sporadically and only with Udo again behind the mic.
Now however I can view Eat The Heat for what it is: a cracking slice of riff infused, memorable chorus busting US tinged commercial Metal, which this Cherry Red reissue treats well. Interesting and candid sleeve notes from Stefan Kaufmann (drums) and Wolf Hoffmann (guitars) (Peter Baltes completed the recording line-up on bass) offer insight to the band's search for a singer and subsequent happenings in and around Accept, while magazine clippings from the time provide more background to where the band were coming from back then. The initial CD bonus tracks, "I Can't Believe In You" and "Break The Ice" still feature and a "single version" of "Generation Clash" also adds value, while both the European track listing and cover design are preferred here over the US.
Not exactly an essential moment in Accept history, however Eat The Heat is, if viewed in the correct frame of mind, an excellent stab at something different from a band who at least had the balls (to the wall) to try and stretch their boundaries. For Accept fans who've dismissed it, give Eat The Heat another whirl to see what the passing of time has done for it, while for fans of late 80s, early 90s US commercial Metal, there's no denying this is an undiscovered gem.
2. Generation Clash
3. Chain Reaction
4. Love Sensation
5. Turn The Wheel
8. I Can't Believe In You
10. Stand 4 What U R
11. Break The Law
13. Generation Clash (single version)
Added: April 19th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Eat The Heat on Cherry Red
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