ACCEPT – ‘RESTLESS AND WILD’. 1983’s best heavy metal album? Or the best ever?

In 1983 I listened only to UK82 punk, and would not publicly admit to liking anything else – I mean, you do know how long it takes to lace and unlace 14 hole DMs, right? But rumbling along at the same time, and very much in parallel, was some really cool heavy metal – and although these two tribes were arguably from different social castes ( the punk records were certainly cheaper ), they would inevitably have speed and ferocity in common. Easy to forget, but Discharge were playing crossover that year, the Necros had already done it, and of course Metallica would shortly be ruining it for everyone by placing the bar so high, that for a while at least, no one could get close. But back to the traditional fists in the air stuff, and the year in question. I know what my favourite [1] album is, but recently I bump into my old muso mate Swaggity Hairy Breeches, and ask him to name his favourite ’83 heavy metal album. He doesn’t even have to consult his two thousand strong vinyl collection, nor his floor-to-ceiling stacks of tapes. No, it turns out he can name it right away, and that’s not all – he reckons it could be his favourite metal album…..of all time. And he’s here at oldmansmettle.com and happy to tell you why!

ACCEPT – ‘RESTLESS AND WILD’.

REVIEW BY SWAG

1Fast As A Shark Written-By – Baltes*, Kaufmann*, Dirkschneider*, Hoffmann*3:48
2Restless And Wild Written-By – AcceptBaltes*, Robert A. Smith-DieselKaufmann*, Dirkschneider*, Hoffmann*4:10
3Ahead Of The Pack Written-By – Baltes*, Kaufmann*, Dirkschneider*, Hoffmann*3:22
4Shake Your Heads Written-By – Baltes*, Kaufmann*, Dirkschneider*, Hoffmann*4:00
5Neon Nights Written-By – AcceptDeaffyR. A. Smith-Diesel*6:00
6Get Ready Written-By – AcceptBaltes*, R. A. Smith-Diesel*, Kaufmann*, Dirkschneider*, Hoffmann*3:49
7Demon’s Night Written-By – Baltes*, Kaufmann*, Dirkschneider*, Hoffmann*4:34
8Flash Rockin’ Man Written-By – Baltes*, Kaufmann*, Dirkschneider*, Hoffmann*4:24
9Don’t Go Steal My Soul Away Written-By – AcceptBaltes*, R. A. Smith-Diesel*, Kaufmann*, Dirkschneider*, Hoffmann*3:15
10Princess Of The Dawn Written-By – AcceptDeaffyR. A. Smith-Diesel*6:15
Tracklist from Discogs.com

Four albums in and here was the cracker. Although the previous two were great and so were the proceeding ones until inimitable singer Udo Dirkschneider left, including the probably better known Balls To The Wall with its crunching title track (and tracks with lyrics that raised the ‘homosexual question’ in the metal press! ), Metal Heart (better than BTTW in my opinion – not a duff track on it, although it could be argued it was slightly more commercial sounding) and Russian Roulette (patchy but still contains some outstanding tracks). Let’s pretend the debut album was by another band shall we?

So. Restless And Wild. Recorded in Dierks Studios, and sounding like it was produced by Dieter himself (although I think his engineer Michael Wagener was more heavily involved), it was recorded in 1982 and released a year later in the UK on Heavy Metal Records (how apt) outta Wolverhampton in ’83 (home of lots of early NWOBHM output and much else besides).
Here we go…

Tracklist:

FAST AS A SHARK. Along with Balls To The Wall, probably their best known track. Incredibly fast and heavy for the time (this is before thrash metal was a thing, remember), with a sampled intro designed to lull you into a false sense of security, followed by Udo letting out an infernal screech. Stefan Kaufmann’s pounding drums, Wolf Hoffmann’s ferocious riffing and super speedy solo, and Udo shouting himself hoarse. To hear this in ’83 was a jaw dropping moment. Sensibly, and perhaps surprisingly, they never attempted to replicate this moment. A bit of an anomaly really in the overall Accept discography, in a similar way to Pretty Maids ‘City Light’s released the same year. I can accept (no pun intended) that some metal heads may not like Accept. What I would not accept is that any metal head worth his salt wouldn’t like this track. What’s the matter? Too much excitement for you?

RESTLESS AND WILD. The title track and what a killer. The more familiar sound of Accept from the previous 2 albums at the veryheight of their powers. Udo utilising the full range of his vocals, switching from the low predatory growl to high pitched screeching (used to comic effect on a subsequent split single with Geordie boys Raven).Unlike so many metal vocalists, never straying into embarrassing high pitched shrillery or at the other end of the scale, hammer horror grunting.Nihilistic lyrics about the pointlessness of it all ..”now you know all your dreams are useless…no tomorrow’s, no destinations, like a wheel turning on and on…every world that you’ve seen is senseless, keep moving on there’s no other way” Udo hammering the point home in an ultra aggressive fashion on the words ‘useless’ and ‘senseless’. A headbangers paradise this track !

AHEAD OF THE PACK. More of a straight ahead rocker this one, with Udo enunciating every syllable to it’s most extreme extent and a killer chorus with gang terrace backing vocals. Not the strongest track on the album but a good example of how the combination of an outstanding vocalist, a top notch rhythm section, an inventive guitarist and a production designed to amplify the sound without losing any of the raw powerful crunch can elevate a track.

SHAKE YOUR HEADS. A slow burner with Udo going over the top (in a good way) on the screech front. Another headbanger (“shake your heads, ’til your necks are breaking……shake your heads, ’til your brains are burning”).

NEON NIGHTS. Another absolute killer. An acoustic intro gives way to a down tuned blast of hellish doomy guitar, then intothe main riff. Udo’s vocals sound desperate and tortured. The lyrics an observation of the short term highs and long time lows of endless night life souls it seems. The chorus is to die for and the guitar only interlude leading into the main solo is a heart stopping moment, Wolf’s classical training piling on the inventive ideas. The way they speed up the track at the end is a stroke of genius, and shows how this slowish number could actually have almost been equally good as an up tempo number.

GET READY. Probably the most forgettable and weakest track on the album, but still performance wise, especially from Udo, elevated to a higher level, and on the chorus, him combined with the backing vocals is a good old shout-a-thon.

DEMON’S NIGHT. Infernal drumming from the depths of hades gives way to the main riff and Udo, not unusually, summons up the most throat shredding vocal performance to compete with even our own Neville John Holder. Wolf summons up a dark edged satanic solo and fills. Once again a great head banging / shouting number.

FLASH ROCKIN’ MAN. Top of the shop again here. Ultra powerful riff with drums clattering and thudding around. A wry look at the superficial level of fame for a rock star. I defy any one to not start moving within the first 10 seconds that this fucker starts ! Wolf taking every opportunity for some ace guitar fills. One of the highlights of Accept live at Donington in 1984 (that I taped off Tommy Vance’s Friday Rock Show – every track heavy as fuck and just as hot as the records),where one punter is seen to exclaim on the UK Rock Festivals website The Accept gig was just as amazing on radio 1 as it was on the day. Fast as a shark with feedback visible to hear, un-edited unbelievable. Elongated screeching at the end beyond any human endurance but wouldn’t be surprised if Udo actually did it in one take!

DON’T GO STEALING MY SOUL AWAY. Yet another (!) fantastic chorus where Udo ekes out every drop of sweat spitting and shouting out the words.Verses are kind of unmemorable but the chorus carries the day.

PRINCESS OF THE DAWN. DESPITE Fast As A Shark and DESPITE Flash Rockin’ Man and DESPITE Neon Nights and DESPITE Restless and Wild this could be THE track on this ‘ere platter (you can tell I used to read Sounds can’t you?). Certainly THE killer riff on here, amongst several. Good lyrics on this in a Dungeons and Dragons vein (okay, lyrics on this album overall are not a high point, but later on in life they got overtly topical regarding corporate take overs, political elites and racism but that’s another story) and the slow burn riffing with Udo’s mysterious, dark, understated vocals. The track kind of sucks you in and once again the guitars are bleeding marvellous, Wolf trying every trick and sound in the book half way through which just serve to give the track even more weight, and the way he builds it back into the main riff is pretty awesome (sorry, tried to avoid using that word all the way through). The “princess of the dawn” backing vocals at the end are a great idea, but the ending is shite because it just cuts off (as in Ian Dury’s ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’).

So , the bottom line is that this album is indispensable to any one into a bit of proper metal, but with the added bonus of much variety as detailed above, with out going into any self indulgent bollocks.
I saw them at Birmingham Odeon in 84/85 ish and they were jaw droppingly good. Also saw Udo with his U.D.O. band, post Accept at Dudley J.B’s. Our man was not happy with the shite turn out, but nevertheless did a storming set, peppered with Accept classics. The merch stand was the biggest I had EVER seen -they even had a full Udo camouflage outfit, including cap, and belt !The piece-de-resistance was when I saw Dirkschneider, his band that only plays the classics from the Accept days, at Sheffield 4 years ago. The place was heaving (and Anvil supported !!!). A night of drunken wild dancing was had with a bunch of metal strangers. My top gig of 2016 by a country fucking mile.
Later albums such as Death Row oozed a far harder sound, almost industrial, but if a great band has to move on with their sound, this was a fantastic way to do it.
Accept would eventually continue without Udo, with Wolf Hoffmann running the band, who I also saw at Sheffield. Very good indeed actually with a great singer (which was good to discover after the abortion that is now Tank, another favourite band from that era) but the Udo line up is what you need to hear first.

All hail the little short haired teutonic terror that is Udo Dirkschneider !!!!!!!

Swag.

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[1] Come on, best of 1983? Crystal Logic by Manilla Road, or course!

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