ICE HALL, HELSINKI
REVIEW AND LIVE PHOTOS BY MARKO SYRJALA
The German metal veterans Accept returned to Finland once again, this time as “a special guest” for Sabaton. The concert was held at the Old Ice Hall of Helsinki, and the venue was completely sold out with approximately 7000 people in the crowd. The band doesn’t have a new studio album to promote, but they just released their first live album, RESTLESS AND LIVE, in January 2017. Maybe this tour is more or less an escape from the studio tour since the band is currently working on its next record which is coming out sometime in the fall. But on the other hand, touring with bands like Sabaton surely helps older groups reach a lot of potential new fans who are not familiar with the legends.
Most bands are never the same after replacing their original vocalist, or the one iconic member that really helped made the band famous. Iron Maiden lost a lot of their fans when Bruce Dickinson decided to leave the group in 1993. Almost nobody accepted Tim “Ripper” Owens as the lead singer in Judas Priest, and there’s plenty of more. Anthrax, Motley Crue, Skid Row, Sepultura and the list goes on. On the other hand, some bands have succeeded with a vocalist change. AC/DC became even bigger than ever, and so did Van Halen. Some other bands have managed to do the change and continue their career successfully and Accept is one of them.
The legendary German band reunited in 2009 but without, as a surprise for many, Udo “the voice of Accept” Dirkschneider. The new vocalist was New York native Mark Tornillo, best known for his 80’s output TT Quick. I’m sure that not too many believed that the band would rise to success again after remembering how the things went after Accept fired Udo and replaced him with David Reece in 1989. However, this time the doubters were dead wrong. With Tornillo, the band has released three excellent albums (BLOOD OF THE NATIONS, STALINGRAD and BLIND RAGE) and those all are widely recognized as some of the band’s best releases to date and some of the best metal albums in recent years. The albums and the band’s energetic live performances have received a lot of great reviews worldwide which proves that Accept is now stronger than ever.
Accept hit the stage at 08:00PM. The lights dropped, and “Stampede” opened the show. The band was full of energy. The stage setup and lights looked great, and the band’s “classic” synchronized guitar moves looked impressive. The crowd responded loud as the band blasted through the first three songs, “Stampede,” “Stalingrad,” and “Restless and Wild.” Some bands, who had their best times in years gone by, tend to focus immensely on their best-known material even though it might be widely worn out. But Accept is different. They have the balls to play their newer stuff right next to their old hits. Of course, the 60-minute set included the required classics, such as “Fast as A Shark,” “Princess of the Dawn” and “Balls to the Wall,” but also four songs from the new era.
Mark Tornillo showed everybody that he should be in no way ashamed to front the band. The singer proved to be an extremely skillful and charismatic frontman, and he had no problems with the material, no matter if it was old or new. Tornillo is great, but Wolf Hoffman and Peter Baltes are the heart and soul of the Accept. The dynamic duo is playing extremely tight, and they’re one of the best performers on the metal scene. It’s amazing that Hoffmann’s incredible guitar playing still induces goosebumps during the “Metal Heart” guitar solo.
The band’s latest additions are drummer Christopher Williams and guitarist Uwe Lulis. Like his predecessor, Lulis stayed willingly in the background, just played his parts and did his job. But Williams was refreshing acquaintance on stage. He apparently brought some new fresh kick, especially to the older songs. I always liked Stefan Schwarfmann behind the kit, but Williams won this battle easily.
All in all, Accept delivered a very well executed gig. If you like metal, you can’t go wrong with Accept. The band played a concert which pleased the audience to the point that they will surely return to see the band again. Hopefully, it will happen soon after the next studio album arrives. The legend continues!
Restless and Wild
Princess of the Dawn
Fast as a Shark
Balls to the Wall