Accept - Symphonic Terror - Live At Wacken 2017 review


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Band: Accept
Album: Symphonic Terror - Live At Wacken 2017
Release date: November 2018

01. Die By The Sword
02. Restless And Wild
03. Koolaid
04. Pandemic
05. Final Journey
06. Night On Bald Mountain
07. Scherzo
08. Romeo And Juliet
09. Pathetique
10. Double Cello Concerto In G Minor
11. Symphony No. 40 In G Minor
12. Princess Of The Dawn
13. Stalingrad
14. Dark Side Of My Heart
15. Breaker
16. Shadow Soldiers
17. Dying Breed
18. Fast As A Shark
19. Metal Heart
20. Teutonic Terror
21. Balls To The Wall

Some folks seem to feel an obligation to perform with an orchestra. Cozying up to a symphony is just something that bands do sometimes, like asking us if we're all having a good time tonight or talking smack about former members on social media. Maybe you hook up with an orchestra because you're bored. Maybe you've just reached that point in your career. Every once in a while, you see a band that does it because it makes sense and actually works for them. I'll admit that Accept is not the first band I'd have expected to find in that last category, but on second thought, they've always had a classical side. They understand what all these other instruments are for. Considering Wolf Hoffmann's musical background and that classical influence has always been lurking even in the gutsy, straightforward heavy metal of a band like Accept, this isn't the dumbest idea in the world.

You'd still be forgiven for wondering what violins could add to a ripping thrasher like "Fast As A Shark" or how cellos could successfully accentuate the groovy gumption of "Balls To The Wall." We'll get to that.

The performance opens with a handful of unaccompanied metal tracks: "Die By The Sword" and "Koolaid" from last year's The Rise Of Chaos, "Pandemic" from Blood Of The Nations, "Final Journey" from Blind Rage, and the classic "Restless And Wild." After whetting the audience's appetite with traditional concert fare, a spot-on performance typical of Accept, the band brings out the orchestra for the next act. This series of songs, tracks 6-11, comes to us from Hoffmann's 2016 solo album Headbangers Symphony and as such directly adapts works by composers such as Mussorgsky, Mozart, and Beethoven. The studio versions already came with strings attached, so this second section of Symphonic Terror has a successful track record already. The real experiment of this live album has yet to begin, but this is a cool chance to hear the rest of the band pitching in for Hoffmann's solo material, a majestic and triumphant marriage of metal and classical music that sounds as natural as if the songs had been written this way to begin with.

Symphonic Terror's titular joyride begins about halfway through. The one-two punch of "Princess Of The Dawn" and "Stalingrad" proves that the combination of these two sets of musicians works to a degree I couldn't have predicted: these lengthy, dramatic pieces have plenty of opportunities to weave in orchestral accentuations that bring out a lot of untapped feelings. Afterwards, the set list moves back into the realm of more traditional heavy metal with "Dark Side Of My Heart," but the fusion remains complementary. Enough thought was put into the composition of the orchestral parts to keep them from overshadowing or undercutting the original songs, which, after all, had not been substantially rewritten to accommodate another series of instruments. Somehow, "Fast As A Shark" develops a whole new facet with strings in tow; the solo section is practically ballroom-worthy. "Metal Heart" was just waiting for an excuse to become even more bombastic. There's a certain darkness and drama even in Accept's simplest material that is receptive to ornamentation in this fashion - again, it seems there was classical machination lurking even where we might not have expected.

After listening to the full album, I'm suitably convinced that the combination of Accept and wealthy old people music works.

I had written this review before the news of Peter Baltes's departure was announced, but it seems that this will have to serve as his last hurrah, as far as we can tell. He and Wolf Hoffmann made a fantastic duo and I count myself privileged to have seen them live; we'll have to let Symphonic Terror stand as one last record of that great partnership.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 7


Written on 11.12.2018 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 84 users
11.12.2018 - 07:58
Bad English
As band it worked, good one, but there are million bands, so live is kust fot die hard fans. I did listen all im live at same week four years ago. So its enought whit live albums. I am not big fan och smyhonic albums. Maybe nighwish should try
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

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