Accept: Russian Roulette (Reissue)
The final release in the truly classic quartet of mid-period Accept arrived in the shape of Russian Roulette, an album that proved once more that if fiery Teutonic Metal was what you hankered for, then nobody did it better. With a history that could be traced back to, believe it or not, 1976, this German five-piece had made their presence known between 1979 and '81 with three confident, if not quite fully formed albums (Accept ('79), I'm A Rebel ('80) and Breaker ('81)), before Restless And Wild exploded a harsher, more individual sound on the world in '82 and Balls To The Wall confirmed their class a year later. It was with Metal Heart in 1985 however that this outfit really hit paydirt, a new strident mix of Metal and Classical motifs suddenly announcing that Accept had arrived.
Which brings us to 1986's Russian Roulette and this excellent Cherry Red reissue which finds the original ten RR tracks joined by a further three live efforts which can originally be found on the 1990 live album, Staying A Life. By this stage the Accept sound was virtually set in stone, strafing riffs, tight beats and barking vocals strutting and posturing with a real sense of intent. There's little doubt that without this band, the German Power Metal scene would look very, very different these days. "T.V. War" roars from the start, taking no prisoners, while "Monsterman" calms things ever so slightly, but with equally effective end results, before "Russian Roulette" showcases the mighty gang vocals this band did so well. However unlike so many albums, things don't even contemplate tailing away, "It's Hard To Find A Way" a more considered mix of restrained passages and biting Metal, "Walking In The Shadows" a veritable riff-fest and wonderful showcase of Udo Dirkschneider's vocals.
By this stage, Accept, who have always had a reasonably fluid line-up, was completed by guitarists Wolf Hoffmann and Jorg Fischer, bassist Peter Baltes and drummer Stefan Kaufmann, a quintet who had also been responsible for Metal Heart. To onlookers in the world of Metal, it seemed as though this act could now do no wrong (a vintage four and a half K review from Kerrang! which features in the booklet confirms so), however it would be more than two and a half decades before Accept would release another album genuinely viewed as worthy of the name....more of which in the review of Eat The Heat here.
This excellent reissue from Cherry Red provides a full punchy sound that Accept music always needed with mastering courtesy of Andy Pearce, while adding excellent liner notes by Malcolm Dome which feature contributions from Kaufmann and Hoffmann, as well as vintage pictures and Tour booklet photos. The three live tracks, also add value, even if with them being not quite from the time of this album (they were recorded the year before Russian was released) and being three non-RR selections, they do feel ever so slightly tacked on.
Russian Roulette never quite hit the commercial success that Metal Heart had for Accept, but as this reissue proves, it was every bit as powerful, memorable and hard hitting. It remains a must hear for Euro-Metal heads everywhere.
1. T.V. War
3. Russian Roulette
4. It's Hard To Find A Way
5. Russian Roulette
6. Heaven Is Hell
7. Another Second To Be
8. Walking In The Shadow
9. Man Enough To Cry
10. Stand Tight
11. Neon Nights (live)
12. Burning (live)
13. Head Over Heels (live)
Added: April 19th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Russian Roulette on Cherry Red
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