Since the early ‘80s, Accept has carved a name out for themselves with their textbook brand of heavy metal, leaving their mark on the golden decade of metal and beyond with a string of classics made for battle-jacket headbangers the world over. Years removed from their original era and reunion with Udo Dirkschneider, the band has been stronger than ever with Mark Tornillo on vocals since 2010’s Blood Of The Nations, earning steady acclaim on Blood and subsequent releases. Now, four years after The Rise Of Chaos we get the sixteenth studio instalment in the Accept catalogue, Too Mean To Die. On the surface, there’s not much to expect other than what Accept has consistently given us, but surprises can still happen even in the most unexpected places.
“Zombie Apocalypse” opens the record up, a straight shot of old-school riffery if there ever was one. The title track doubles down on this quintessentially ‘80s flavour, kicking up the double bass and giving axe-man Wolf Hoffmann more of an opportunity to shine. “Overnight Sensation”, a swipe at the hollowness of popular culture reiterates some people’s characterization of Accept as the AC/DC of metal, a view bolstered by Accept’s covering of a Scottish rock tune that AC/DC had did a rendition of three years prior (though it was never released). “No One’s Master” brings back some of the Blood Of The Nations flavour from 11 years ago a la “Beat The Bastards” and “Locked And Loaded”; “The Undertaker” dabbles with some acoustic elements at first and graduates into a true-to-form fist-pumper shortly thereafter.
“Sucks To Be You” isn’t “You Got Another Thing Coming”, just for the record, but it certainly carries the same unapologetic, true-blue metal vibe. “Symphony Of Pain” is closer to modern Accept (as modern as Accept can be), while “The Best Is Yet To Come” starts off slow a la “The Undertaker” and unfolds into a dramatic metal ballad. “How Do We Sleep”, judging by the opening drumbeat and the building guitar is a track made for an arena, thoroughly soaked in “Teutonic Terror”-esque power metal bombast. “Not My Problem” is another par-for-the-course ripper with a colourful solo from Wolf Hoffmann, leading into “Samson and Delilah”, a four-and-a-half minute instrumental with a slight Eastern bent to close the record out.
Too Mean To Die is basically another Accept release from Accept, and that’s not to say it’s bland or devoid of character. Accept has a solid template formed over the course of their existence that they continue to stick to, and while that certainly doesn’t work for anybody it certainly works for them. They possess the ability to make records that are 100% old school but still sound fresh enough to not be dismissed as old school; a great advantage in the quest for longevity if there ever was one. This record channels Accept in the flesh, and it’s hard to say that we would expect anything different from them: Pure, traditional heavy metal is what the world asks for, and they happily deliver time and time again.