It’s now a full decade since Solingen’s finest, Accept, resurrected their fading career with the help of former TT Quick frontman Mark Tornillo; In that time they’ve released five new studio albums, all produced by knob twiddler Andy Sneap and all, by and large, ploughing more or less the same musical furrow.

That being a given, there are few surprises to be found with in the grooves of Too Mean To Die. Despite the fact that Tornillo and guitarist/band leader Wolf Hoffmann are the only survivors from 2010’s comeback album Blood of the Nations, most of the tracks on offer here are interchangeable with anything else the band has recorded in the last ten tears. Overnight Sensation, for instance, finds a near identical twin in Analog Man from 2017’s Rise Of Chaos; and whilst this might not necessarily be a bad thing in the scheme of things, it does mean that there a going to be quite a few more exciting listening experiences to be found over the coming twelve months. If we’re still allowed to listen to heavy metal in December, that is…

Hoffmann fans will be pleased to hear that the man’s classical music obsession is indulged here; most notably on closing instrumental offering Samson And Delilah, which, despite it’s supposed middle Eastern theme, is actually based on Dvořák‘s Symphony Number Nine – which was written about the United States, Herr Hoffmann’s adopted home.

But that’s enough griping. Whilst this is undoubtedly ‘just’ another latter day Accept album, there are still plenty of metallic nuggets to enjoy. First single The Undertaker is a slow burning grower that’ll eventually get under your skin and join your list of all time faves by the band, whilst preceding track No Ones Master is an energetic headbanger that’ll surely find an appreciative audience wherever it’s watched in livestream performances. Similarly the other classically-influenced track here, Symphony of Pain, has all the makings of a live favourite in the future with it’s pounding, Priestesque metallic attack.

At fifty two minutes plus in duration and eleven tracks in length the album feels slightly bloated – the likes of Sucks To Be You and Not My Problem could probably have been lost without anybody worrying over much – but long term fans of the band will still probably find enough to like about Too Mean To Die to find a place for it in their hearts and their record collections whatever jaded old hacks like me may think.

Too Mean To Die releases on January 29th.