This almost never happens. It almost never happens that a band of some notoriety finds a way to come all the way back from the dead and be better than ever. That's exactly what has happened here. For all intents and purposes, Accept was dead. Udo Dirkschneider started an Accept clone band called U.D.O., and the remaining guys were doing nothing. For many, Accept was over. Somehow though, they brought in the surprisingly awesome Mark Tornillo from TT Quick, and came roaring back with BLOOD OF THE NATIONS. To say they stunned the world would be an understatement, as I think even the most staunch believers didn't come close to imagining that release being very good. That said though, the band's follow-up STALINGRAD could actually be more important for them. Would it live up to the last album, or was NATIONS just a fluke?
Simply put, it is no fluke. STALINGRAD is a serious followup to BLOOD OF THE NATIONS; pretty much on the same musical plain as that release. The songwriting is excellent. The performances are beyond reproach. The music is compelling. Udo must be having nightmares about Wolf Hoffmann and Peter Baltes on a daily basis.
While STALINGRAD is not quite the behemoth that BLOOD OF THE NATIONS was, it's pretty damn close. Songs like "Hellfire" are some of the most smoking tunes in the band's catalog. Wolf Hoffmann has come all the way back from the musical dead to lay in some of the best 80s metal riffs ever recorded here. His solos are biting throughout; almost Schenker-like in spots while reminiscent of his classic work at other points. Songs like the powerful "Against The World" feature what is the traditional Accept sound - meaty guitars from Hoffmann and Herman Frank, a thick foundation from bassist Baltes and drummer Stefan Schwarzmann, and some biting vocals from Tornillo. Without question, one of the best choices in rock history of the last decade has to be the decision to bring Tornillo into Accept. He has singlehandedly revived this band. His performances on songs like "Stalingrad" and "Twist Of Fate" are some of the best in the history of this act.
PITRIFF RATING - 94/100 - By the time the band finishes up with "The Galley", you have been once again reminded that you are listening to a great band that's truly rebounded from the depths of obscurity. STALINGRAD is exceptional; by far one of the best albums in the entire catalog. Only RESTLESS AND WILD is better than the last two Accept releases in their catalog in my mind. That's quite a statement when you consider the amount of great music they have created. Kudos to the best active German band out today. Accept continues to shine again.