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Balls to the Wall

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Album Review

Accept's most notorious album, Balls to the Wall was also their biggest commercial success. Following hot upon the heels of their creative breakthrough, Restless and Wild, you'd also be hard pressed to find a more sexually charged record in any musical genre. Its hysterically nonsensical lyrics notwithstanding, the legendary title track remains an irresistible, fist-pumping masterpiece that came to epitomize the modern, slow-marching metal anthem as it became known. And when paired with second single "London Leatherboys," it arguably constitutes the most blatantly homoerotic couplet in the history of heavy metal (eat your heart out, Rob Halford). "Fight It Back" is about as close as the band gets to their old, semi-thrashing ways (taken to the limit the previous year with the maniacal "Fast as a Shark"), and it is the more melodic "Head Over Heels" and semi-ballad "Losing More Than You've Ever Had" that set the tone for Accept's future direction. The album's third undisputed classic, the driving "Love Child," kicks off side two with one of metal's great staccato riffs — so good, the band revisits it nearly verbatim a few songs later with "Losers and Winners," which is nearly as powerful. And though not quite as celebrated, the remaining tracks are no less potent, especially the slowly building tension heard on the downright lascivious "Turn Me On." The bottom line here is that this, like its predecessor Restless and Wild, is an essential heavy metal album, and any fan worth his salt should own them both. But, for the sake of first-time visitors, Balls to the Wall is the slightly more melodic, less gritty of the two. Whichever you chose, you can only win. [Legacy's 2001 reissue appends a pair of live bonus tracks: "Head Over Heels" and "Love Child."]

Biography

Formed: 1978 in Solingen, Germany

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With their brutal, simple riffs and aggressive, fast tempos, Accept were one of the top metal bands of the early '80s, and a major influence on the development of thrash. Led by the unique vocal stylings of screeching banshee Udo Dirkschneider, the band forged an instantly recognizable sound and was notorious as one of the decade's fiercest live acts. Despite recording two of the best heavy metal albums of the decade in Restless & Wild and Balls to the Wall, Accept remained too heavy and extreme...
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Balls to the Wall, Accept
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