Balls to the Wall Album Review

1984 (Reissued 2001)

And so Accept continues to define thrash whilst also delivering perhaps the genre's finest work, Balls to the Wall, now reissued and mounted as the classic it is. Diminutive dominator Udo Dirkschneider and his posse of sharks violently kick out mighty jams powered by strident, confidence-empowered licks which finally conquer American airwaves, and smuggle in wild, sexually-explicit lyrics which fight global oppression and ambiguous urges. These cats come off AC/DC in societal implications as well as with the punishing delivery. But the Bon Scott comparisons are obvious and easy, for the brushes of baroque and qualities of composition set this record apart and render Balls to the Wall timeless. Accept's female manager, Deaffy, wrote the lyrics, which explains some of the controversial content, but Balls to the Wall gives no easy answers, just adrenalizes the listener to take on the world. All the bolts are tightened and the naivete shared with fellow Teutonic titans the Scorpions is a thing of the past. The crushing title track stands proudly as a heavy metal Psalm. "London Leather Boys" (Wonder if Accept ever heard "Les Boys" by Dire Straits) pillages the opening of Judas Priest's "Killing Machine," and these former tour mates also haunt the penetratingly poignant "Losing More Than You Ever Had" plus the full-metal letter in "Losers and Winners." Accept hates the average in "Fight It Back," a smoker so heavy it needs a respirator. "Turn Me On" is the best track never recorded by another road companion, Switzerland's Krokus. The crisp classical cascades flowing through "Guardian of the Night" would thrive in the metal heart of the quartet's ensuing work. And in the end, all the hot passion blows away in cold "Winterdreams." Two concert cuts don't add to the pulverizing whole, but nothing can take away from this masterwork. The bonus live version of the dizzying "Head Over Heels" starts off with a "100,000 Years" bass solo before blasting into high gear; while "Love Child" runs wild through the arena one last time (Wonder if W.A.S.P. ever came to love this nugget?). Every metal group should be forced to listen to Balls to the Wall for a study in full-bodied heart-attack rock.

-STONE, Cheap Trash NYC
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