Album Review: Too Mean to Die by Accept (Nuclear Blast)

Too Mean to Die is the upcoming sixteenth studio album by German heavy metal band Accept, to be released on 29 January 2021 via Nuclear Blast.

Accept formed way back in 1976 in the town of Solingen in Germany by guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and former members Udo Dirkschneider and Peter Baltes . You can even trace Accept’s start back further into the late 60s when they first started under the name Band X. Accept have been an ever present of metal for over half a century which is insane really. Accept were major influencers to thrash metal setting the example for the emergence of the 80’s scene. Bands across the ages and genres cite Accept as a major influence from Metallica to Pantera to Alice in Chains to Soundgarden.

As for every band that lasts this long, part of their endurance comes from a regularly changing line up. Fresh blood brings fresh ideas and enthusiasm and Accept have changed many times with only Wolf Hoffmann still present today. They have broken up, or gone on hiatus a fair few times but they always come back, ready to lead a new generation. So, now, in 2021, we have some more changes to the lineup for the new album. Replacing founding bassist, Peter Baltes, we have Martin Motnik and we have Philip Shouse joining on rhythm guitar. Obviously the ever present Wolf Hoffmann is on leads with Uwe Lulis also on rhythm guitars. On the drums, we have Christopher Williams and on vocals, it’s Mark Tornillo.

 

Accept - Too Mean to Die - Band Image

 

So, on to the new album, Too Mean to Die which follows their 2017 release, The Rise of Chaos. Too Mean to Die comes with 11 tracks, or, over 52 minutes of high energy , traditional metal to get stuck in to.

Wolf Hoffmann states: “We decided to not let ourselves be overly influenced by current events. Fans will get a hard, direct and uncompromising metal album, but of course accompanied with a wink: we are too mean to die! Weeds do not go away! Accept do not let themselves get down!”

Too Mean to Die gets underway with Zombie Apocalypse. There is a nice doomy feel to the crunches of guitars and drums that start the track off before it turns in to a ripping thrash song. Quick drums and a catchy riff move things along while Tornillo bellows out with edgy, aggressive vocals. The chorus is old school and infectious. I love the backing vocals and the screaming guitars add a neat layer. You get a bit more from them with a couple neat little solos too. It’s a fiery start.

That fire continues into the title track next, Too Mean to Die. I really like the music. The guitars have menace to them and the drums get you nodding along quickly. I must admit, I am not sold on the vocals yet though. I like them, I think, but I don’t love them. The difference in the chorus is huge as backing vocals come in and the two layers sound fantastic together. Still, I can live with them and the ripping riffs and solos more than make up for any vocal doubts I have.

Overnight Sensation mixes up the beat a bit, going for an 80’s stadium rock sound with a punchy rhythm. It’s fresh sounding and really neat to see the old school band tackle a modern thing as they have a pop at Instagram stars, fame hungry whores and keyboard warriors. A great topic, great lyrics and a catchy as hell rhythm. Banger. No Ones Master keeps the slower groove going with some nice old school riffage and more subdued vocals. The solo in this one is pure fire too.

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 The Undertaker switches things up nicely starting with some nice melody and then turning into a stomping drum rhythm. Its pretty neat with some cool backing vocals and a different structure. The lyrics are a bit stupid “rich or poor, large or small, the undertaker takes them all”. Still, musically it is cool, there is a nice solo and it definitely breaks the album up nicely. Sucks To Be You picks the pace and ferocity up a bit with a punchy riff and loads of flashy lead lines. The “It Suck To Be You” chorus lyrics are a bit weak but this one is all about those lead guitars and they are ablaze.

Symphony of Pain follows and instantly impresses with it’s blazing lead guitar. The drops off suddenly into a quick and thrashy rhythm. It’s a solid, high energy track. The Best Is Yet To Come follows and gives us a ballad. A nice acoustic melody works well with the vocals. It picks up nicely for a big chorus that gets stuck right in your mind and has a really nice, positive message around optimism and looking forwards.

How Do We Sleep comes next and has a power metal vibe to it with plenty of backing “whoahs” and big lead guitar lines. It’s another nice switch up in style showing Accept have plenty to offer still. The penultimate track on Too Mean To Die is called Not My Problem and is a bit more standard heavy rock fare. It’s fine with a good tempo and plenty of energy. The chorus is solid, the solo is great – there is plenty to like, even if it feels a bit like you have heard it before on the album already.

We close this mammoth release with Samson and Delilah. I love the intro here – the lead guitars sound great over the seriously crunchy riff and pounding drums. There is a Middle Eastern twang to the lead guitars that really works and again gives off a bit of a power metal vibe. It is a pure instrumental so you really just get 4 and a half minutes of passionate leads and punchy riffs. Can’t complain about that!

Well, you can’t really complain about any of Too Mean To Die. It’s a really strong album. It is quite long, by today’s standard but Accept do a very good job of keeping it fresh by offering lots of variations in style and cleverly placing song son the album so you don’t really get the same thing over and over. There is an old school vibe to a lot of the album. Why wouldn’t there be?

I don’t always love the vocals, and a couple tracks fell a little flat but overall, it’s a fine album with a few absolute bangers, like overnight Sensation and The Best Is Yet To Come. Too Mean To Die shows Accept still have more than enough creativity and drive to have an impact over half a century into their career. That’s amazing.

Preorder your copy of Too Mean to Die from Nuclear Blast, here.

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Too Mean to Die by Accept (Nuclear Blast)
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