I’m still not, and may never be, completely sold on any form of Accept that does not include Udo “Bastard!!” Dirkschneider, but even I have to admit that Stalingrad is something of an improvement over 2010’s Udo-less return from the grave, Blood of the Nations. There are still too many expeditions into exhausted Hard Rock territory, like “Twist of Fate,” “Hellfire,” or the terrible album-closer “The Gallery” (excluding the jarringly excellent final minute or so), and trying to replace such an iconic singer as Udo is an impossible task. But even in the worst moments (often due to the vocals, but there’re a few clunky and even outright bad riffs) there are some redeeming qualities, and at its best, this album can cause fits of uncontrollable headbanging. By “its best,” I mean when these crusty krauts (minus one) are trying to sound like they used to when Udo was still in the band, and when Guy-Who’s-Not-Udo (non-kraut Mark Tornillo) puts forth maximum effort to sound as much like Udo as he can. Otherwise his vocals tend to get annoying quickly. At least someone knows to put the best song first, as “Hung, Drawn and Quartered” is arguably as good as things get here. The limited edition version of the CD comes with a bonus track, plus a DVD, which I haven’t seen, consisting of video clips and some live footage. Stalingrad is nowhere close to the first album I’ll reach for when I need an Accept fix, and I’m still hoping for a reconciliation with Udo (in a Mercyful Fate / King Diamond kind of way, so that Udo’s excellent “solo” band would also keep recording and touring), but if this new Accept continues to refine their sound, and more importantly, Not-Udo’s vocals, maybe after a couple more albums I’ll stop mentioning Udo so much in their reviews.
Page 1 of 1 pages