Just pipped to the post by former singer Udo Dirkschneider, who cunningly released the live document of his seemingly never-ending farewell tour (wherein he ‘farewells’ the Accept back catalogue) just a couple of months ago, the rump Accept (only bassist Peter Baltes and the ubiquitous Wolf Hoffmann remain from the band’s classic lineups) plug on relentless with their own live document… So who are, if you’ll pardon the pun, the losers and winners of this epic struggle between metal titans?
It’s hard to give a definitive answer, of course, because the two outfits are performing different tasks at this point. Dirkschneider is an unabashed nostalgia unit, whilst Accept for their part wisely opt for a set which heavily favours the three albums they’ve recorded with former TT Quick vocalist Mark Tornillo, with only Restless and Wild of the Udo albums getting any more than three tracks. Tornillo is an admirable voice in his own right – in fact I remember saying to anyone who would listen after hearing TT Quick’s Metal of Honor album in the mid eighties that he’d be a great fit for Accept should the dread day of a Dirkschneider departure ever eventuate – and he sings the modern material with fire and real aplomb, lifting even mediocre album material like Shadow Soldiers (from 2012’s Stalingrad) out of the mire and into the memorable, where it joins an utterly spellbinding take on Pandemic; But he’s just not quite there on some of the Udo material, sounding just a little too glossy for my liking. That said, Midnight Mover and Losers and Winners both sound as good here as I’ve ever heard them, and Restless and Wild itself is positively titanic, so there’s not really too much to moan about on that score in the final washup.
But let’s not make this solely a Dirkschneider-Tornillo faceoff. Uwe Lulis (guitars) and drummer Christopher Williams both deserve huge plaudits for their performances on the album, with both men very much wet behind the performance ears (with Accept at least) when this material was recorded last year. You’d not know it from both men’s contributions, with Williams in particular sounding like he’s been in the band forever – A true man of the match performance.
At the end of the day as with all ‘band incarnation’ arguments you’re probably either for or against this version of Accept, and the contents of Restless and Live aren’t going to sway that opinion. Either way, the album comes as a DVD or as a myriad of CD/vinyl possibilities, but any way you take Restless and Live you’re in for a good old-fashioned Teutonic ear-battering. So enjoy!
Restless and Live is released through Nuclear Blast on January 13th 2017.