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Accept - 1996 Predator

ARTIST: Accept
ALBUM: Predator
SERIAL: 74321 33570 2
YEAR: 1996


LINEUP: Udo Dirkschneider - vocals * Wolf Hoffman - guitars * Peter Baltes - vocals, bass * Michael Cartellone - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Hard Attack * 02 Crossroads * 03 Making Me Scream * 04 Diggin' In The Dirt * 05 Lay It Down * 06 It Ain't Over Yet * 07 Predator * 08 Crucified * 09 Take Out The Crime * 10 Don't Give A Damn * 11 Run Through The Night * 12 Primitive


Accept's second swansong was imminently more acceptable than the first, the Udo-less 'Eat The Heat' in 1989. After reforming in 1993 Accept proved they still had it with 'Objection Overruled', an album able to stand alongside 'Restless And Wild', if slightly tamer. 1994's 'Death Row'was darker in sound, the band altering their traditional metal in favour of a more updated 90's style. Due to a chronic back condition, drummer Stefan Kaufmann was forced to leave the band, his place taken for session work only by Damn Yankees stickman Michael Cartellone. For 'Predator' Accept employed famed producer Michael Wagener, the German connection intact. 'Predator' was another departure, with Peter Baltes assuming vocals for three tracks, something he had not done since 1980's 'Breaker'. Musically it was a combination of old and new Accept, a far more satisfying mixture.

The Songs
Wolf Hoffmann's guitar tone had changed to a more hard rock sound, showcased on the sexually infected 'Hard Attack', which doesn't rely on the messerschmitt attack of years past. 'Crossroads' is tuned down heaviness, with Baltes sharing vocals with Udo. Hoffmann adds some vintage guitar harmonies in the chorus, some things staying the same. The sound of 'Makin Me Scream' owes more to Korn in the opening bars than The Scorpions, but once things kick in a sense of normality resumes, the pace being worked up. The downtuned aspect rears again with the bottom ended ferocity of 'Diggin In The Dirt', but the Peter Baltes voiced 'Lay It Down', is a true metal great thanks to a triumphantly emphatic chorus. Baltes oddly sounds a dead ringer for Paul Dianno here. There's only room for one speed rocker, 'Crucified', which revisits the 80's glory days as Hoffmann delivers a blinding solo amidst a barrage of cracking riffs. Udo's in fine form on 'Take Out The Crime', spitting the vocals out with anger, and complimented by the excellent 'Don't Give A Damn' and melodic class of 'Run Through The Night, make for a bracing trio. Things end on a bizarre note, as a drum machine is in place for 'Primitive', a Hoffmann-Baltes composition I'm positive Udo opted out of.

In Summary
Following the accompanying tour Accept called it a day once more. Although maintaining a worldwide fan base, the remaining members reportedly had some concerns over the musical direction. Given the split between old and new on 'Death Row' and 'Predator', it came as little surprise. Udo quickly resumed his solo career, with 1997's 'Solid' a return to the metal of old. Since then Udo has remained the only visible member of Accept still going, with a further three albums to his name. A live retrospective appeared in 1998, 'The Final Chapter' chronicling Accepts tours of 1993/94. 'Predator' wasn't a definitive career closer, but still possessed enough quality to recommend a listen.

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