ALBUM REVIEW: Accept – Humanoid

Being able to keep a steady line-up over the last few years has proven difficult for German metal legends Accept. With guitarist Wolf Hoffmann being the only remaining member from the glory days of the seventies and eighties, this current incarnation is the first time since 2014’s Blind Rage the band has maintained stability for two or more successive albums. And even then, they have been temporarily deprived of the services of touring guitarist Philip Shouse.

📸: Christoph Vohler

📸: Christoph Vohler

One constant which has proved invaluable over the last fourteen years, however, is the presence of studio engineer and big league knob twiddler Andy Sneap who returns with another trademark balls to the wall (pun completely intended) production job on latest album Humanoid (Napalm Records).

After a brief Middle Eastern style intro and with the tiniest echo of Iron Maiden‘s “Powerslave”, the mid-paced stomp of opener “Diving Into Sin” talks about breaking the chains of conformity before the subject changes to the insidious menace of AI and technology on the thunderous title track. Lyrics like “My name is Hybrid, I stand alone. Bionic implants engineered for flesh and bone” lead nicely into the retro horror of “Frankenstein”; the story told from the monster’s point of view boasting a classic eighties Accept chorus.

The message is simple and to the point on “Man Up”, a song about putting on your big boy pants and just getting on with things no matter how tough or depressing they might get. It’s an honest if fairly brutal sentiment from an older generation that might not go down well with sections of other, younger age groups.

The biblical force of “The Reckoning” features a powerhouse performance from frontman Mark Tornillo; the US singer tearing his vocal cords to pieces before the gloriously upbeat “Nobody Gets Out Alive”. Switching moods, “Ravages Of Time” is a mature power ballad looking back at a life of partying and hard living while “Unbreakable” gets things back on the fast track with one of those fiercely German “bonding with the fans” songs.

“Mind Games” is a sturdy little track about dreams and nightmares but is quickly put in the shade by “Straight Up Jack”. There’s always at least one Accept song per album that sounds like it was written with AC/DC in mind and with its alcohol soaked lyrical content, this is most definitely it. Closing out the record is the raucous gallop of “Southside of Hell”, a general all-round thunderbastard that finishes the album in suitably belligerent style.

Hoffmann might be the only remaining original member but his guitar sound is still as warm and comfortable as an old pair of slippers, every break and solo reeking of classic Accept. Axe partner Uwe Lulis continues to be a perfect foil, Tornillo sounds like he still has plenty of years ahead of him, and the rhythm section of bassist Martin Motnik and drummer Christopher Williams are every bit the well oiled machine you would expect.

Full of new but familiar hooks, punchy rhythms and memorable guitar melodies, Humanoid is yet another quality offering from a band who know exactly what their fans want and continue to deliver without missing a beat.

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7 / 10