A few months ago, I posted my initial thoughts on this album, after just a single playback. Having now lived with the disc for an extended period, here's a more comprehensive analysis. Shame on you if you haven't picked it up yet! “Stampede” opens the disc, the first song most people heard, thanks to internet samples and accompanying video. Wise choice, as the aptly entitled track charges from the starting gates, leveling anything in it path. Unwilling to repeat themselves, Blind Rage lacks a full bore, start-to-finish, heads down stormer, like “No Shelter”, “Hung Drawn & Quartered” or even “Beat The Bastards”, this third album being a more varied platter, slotting nicely between the unbelievable energy of the reformation debut (Blood Of The Nations) and the more stoic Stalingrad. It leans a little closer to the initial offering, moreso than the follow-up. That's not to say it doesn't rock, but Accept has always been better known for “Balls to The Wall” and “Metal Heart” than “Fast As A Shark” or “Restless & Wild”.
An almost Eastern mysticism winds through Wolf Hoffmann's guitar in “Dying Breed”, a mid-tempo ode to the longevity of metal acts like Saxon, Motorhead, Judas Priest, AC/DC, etc. Easy call-response chorus could see this being a big onstage favorite. From the word 'Go', “Dark Side Of My Heart” locks into that patented Accept melody, albeit more introspective lyrics. Think “Living For Tonight” for the modern age. Still want to know how much of “Fall Of The Empire” is motivated by actions of the USA: “In spite of every bright intention, we live and die by the sword. It's second nature, and so the the question is, Can we learn, or will we burn?” A short (just over four minutes), upbeat “Trail Of Tears” retells the historical misdeeds against the Native American populous, from their perspective, ultimately asking “What gives you the right, to do this? Who are the savages now?” After acoustic intro, “Wanna Be Free”, locks into a mid-tempo, politically charged anthem, voicing opposition to many lower economic plights: sex slaves/human trafficking, drug abuse/gang activity. Who says metalheads are mindless buffoons, writing about sex, drugs & rock n roll? Well, not in the way most (mainstream) people categorize us, anyhow!
A look into the future, “200 Years” enlivens the pace once again. Something a post-apocalyptic tale (“200 years after mankind,” according to the chorus), seemingly inspired by the History Channel's “Life After People” series. The pulse races for “Bloodbath Mastermind”. Again, not sure the real world impetus for this one (“You chose the coward's suicide. Could be we're better off this way.”), but the pointed perspective is definitely non-fiction. Mark Tornillo screaming and screeching throughout. His whiskey hoarse throat kicks off “From The Ashes We Rise”, a staccato, primordial beat (is it a military march or human heart?) that will surely see fists pumping skyward in concert and heads nod. Apart from Hoffmann's wild guitar break, simple, but effective. “The Curse” is another slower Accept, head bobbling classic, tempo similar to “Shadow Soldiers”, which has been a onstage staple for a couple of years now. While the speedier “Final Journey” (fittingly) closes the proper album, certain editions includes “Thrown To The Wolves” (in addition to a full concert DVD, from Chile in 2012): a gritty, in-over-your-head tale of sexual conquest.
After a few US warm-up dates, Europe gets to witness the Blind Rage tour first, before the transplanted Germans (most living Stateside) return to our side of the Atlantic, next spring. Plenty of time to fully digest the new music.