I’ve often pondered about the relevance of live albums in this day and age.
Back in the day, a live album was not just a treasured souvenir from the tour. It was a way of hearing a band in their element.
Think ‘Ha!’ by Killing Joke, ‘Unleashed in the East’ by Judas Priest (only the vocals were touched up, for the record) and ‘In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up’ by Ministry.
Those records transport you to the gig, and capture the euphoria and face melting power of these bands.
Nowadays, with every single gig on the planet seemingly being live streamed via people’s phones and consumed via Facebook, live albums seem like relics from a different era.
Like hand written letters to your aunt thanking you for that Christmas present you didn’t want.
Of course, they’re still good for business and for collectors as well. Hence the deluge of “unofficial” live releases that can be found in various high street chain stores.
And it’s a suitable format for Accept, allowing them to demonstrate the power of their new line up (drummer Christopher Williams and guitarist Uwe Lulis) as well as put to rest any doubts about the suitability of Mark Tornillo filling a role vacated by Udo Dirkschneider over a decade ago.
It’s always heartening to see a long established act like Accept carry on in the face of such adversity, and actually gain greater momentum than they had previously.
And while their choice of supporting Sabaton hasn’t been widely accepted, it’s an ideal move to introduce them to a new generation of classic metal fans.
Despite the puntastic title, this is an exceptional modern live album. Featuring their entire set from 2015’s Bang Your Head festival in Balingen, Germany, there are no frills and no fucking about.
Just fist pumping heavy metal delivered to you with passion and conviction.
Opening with ‘Stampede’ (from 2014’s ‘Blind Rage’) is a statement of how much faith the band have in the most recent material, as most acts of their ilk play it safe by having a classic setlist staple as the opener. However, listen to the crowd sing along to Wolf Hoffmann’s solo proves it to be a smart move.
‘Stalingrad’ follows suit. It’s hard to believe that this was Lulis and Williams’ first gig with the band. The playing is assured, the sheer force and confidence on show is second to none.
Of course, the old classics are in there as well. But it’s cool to see that the Tornillo albums are represented well on this, and they fit alongside the classics perfectly.
Particular highlights on here are versions of ‘Dying Breed’ (I’ve always liked Tornillo’s delivery of the line “and Diamonds and Rust”), ‘Midnight Mover’ (the best mix of AC/DC and Judas Priest) and ‘Flash Rockin’ Man (gotta love the solo on this one).
The position of live albums in the modern world is still up for debate but we’ll make an exception for ‘Restless and Live.’
3.5 / 5 - Christopher Owens ::: 05/01/17