Accept - Too Mean to Die
Nuclear Blast
Heavy Metal
11 songs (52:07)
Release year: 2021
Accept, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

Despite all the jokes that come to mind when considering the title of German heavy metal institution Accept's sixteenth full-length (too stubborn to split up, too poor to retire, and so on) it is a genuine pleasure to have the resurrected band with us yet. Accept have been active since the late 1960s in some form or other, although guitarist (and professional photographer!) Wolf Hoffmann is the only original member surviving who has played on all albums, he has assembled a capable band with Udo replacement Mark Tornillo (TT Quick) providing snarly vocals to what has mostly been a solid set of songs. The cracks are definitely starting to show, however, Too Mean to Die lacking the intensity and songwriting excellence of previous albums like Stalingrad and Blood of the Nations. What we have is merely another Accept album, instead of another excellent Accept album...

...Yet that is more than Acceptable! The band's essentially rock-solid foundation of Judas Priest plus AC/DC results in a set of songs that range from solid to excellent; first single The Undertaker being an infectious post-Balls to the Wall type of anthem that even has similarly epic wordless choral backing, never mind the groovy riffing and earworm of a chorus. Songs generally are constructed well, however conservatively; the likes of the title track solid metal chuggers with plenty of enjoyable soloing from Hoffmann alongside Uwe Lulis and new man Philip Shouse (Ace Frehley & Gene Simmons Band!). Yep, Accept are now a triple guitar act! and although you wouldn't always know it the trio are one of the best aspects of Too Mean to Die. Even drummer Christopher Williams is the best that the band have had in years, never showing off but always providing a perfectly fitting backing to the guitarists; instrumentally Accept have zero issues.

In terms of songwriting, things are a little shakier. Sure, they may lean a little closer to power metal here and there, such as Symphony of Pain and its lengthy melodic widdling, or to hard rock stomp on sneery pounders like Sucks to be You and Not My Problem. Generally, however, songs are competent while lacking that spark to make them excellent, coasting instead of flying. There is absolutely no attempt to experiment or move away from the formula that they've arguably perfected, which is fine, but the songs that result from this aren't always that memorable, which is not. There's personality and life here and there, but remembering more than a couple of songs from this even after multiple listens is difficult. In fairness to Accept, there are no wild failures or missteps, either; ballad The Best is Yet to Come is perfectly adequate, as is closing instrumental Samson and Delilah. One could question quite why the band wanted this album to be over fifty minutes long, when cutting both would have made it shorter and better...?

It's hard to be too critical of bands with Accept's vintage, however. They clearly love metal, and play it with enough love to be endearing like an elderly relative dropping tall tales at the family dinner. This music is inherently enjoyable; Accept positively channel AC/DC on Overnight Sensation, calling out celebrity culture and even namedropping the Kardashians in one of several senior moments here. It's not really as irritating as some seem to have found it that a band of this age has boomer-ish tendencies to their lyrics - what did you expect? Sure, Zombie Apocalypse may be yet another song about these goshdarned young people walking around looking at phones all day, but it moves along quickly and has catchy riffing. And yes, some may question lyrics like "a new epidemic has control of this land" when a good chunk of the planet is locked down in fear of the Plague Angels, but this is heavy goddamn metal, and hopefully there are plenty of songs forthcoming that will poke fun at these strange times and offend the morality police. Did you ever listen to Accept for the lyrics, anyway? Of course not, you listen because you like banging your head, and although the weakest release yet since 2009's rebirth, Too Mean to Die still delivers well enough to be worth hearing for the faithful.

Killing Songs :
Overnight Sensation, The Undertaker, Sucks to be You, Not My Problem
Goat quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Accept that we have reviewed:
Accept - Breaker reviewed by Ben and quoted 90 / 100
Accept - Balls to the Wall reviewed by Goat and quoted classic
Accept - Blind Rage reviewed by Andy and quoted 84 / 100
Accept - Stalingrad reviewed by Chris and quoted 85 / 100
Accept - Blood Of The Nations reviewed by Marty and quoted 85 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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