Accept – Breaker (1981 Remastered Platinum Edition)

Their third opus, Breaker seems to show the band getting a real foothold in their sound and would be a template for the kind of band that they’d later become. Much longer than it’s precursor, Breaker shows off some of the band’s most beloved hits, like “Can’t Stand The Night” and “Midnight Highway.” Included on this edition are live versions of the title track and “Midnight Highway” which though aren’t necessary, surely aren’t a bad idea to have. Now these live tracks come from Udo’s latest tour and aren’t from the live performances around that time, but they still show that one of metal’s strongest frontmen still has it in him after all of these years.

The album revs up with the Priestly vibe of “Starlight” which more or less seems to show the band finally entering into the realms of full-on heavy metal. It’s no surprise that they supported Judas Priest on tour with this one, being what Udo considers to have possibly been their breakout album in Europe. The idea for this one was to have the “heaviest sound on the planet” which is a real departure from the experimental realms of I’m A Rebel. Udo also considers it the birth of that signature Accept sound. The record is extremely similar to Priest at their heaviest as well, almost making them seem like a German version of the act. Not a real issue though, because albums like this make up the very brick and mortar of the power metal movement as we know it.

The album’s title cut follows the same formula, showcasing an act that was more than ready to take the world by storm. Tracks like “Run If You Can” showcase the sort of slow chugging equivalent to that of early Priest and Dickinson fronted Maiden. These were full-blown heavy metal cuts, with strong choral blasts and a continued majesty in guitar theatrics from the twin titans, Fischer and Hoffman. Their compositionary efforts more or less made this fucking record – and this was decades before computer programming, so everything sounds as natural and raw as it should. The guitars aren’t raised so high in the mix that the vocal edges are drowned out, and Udo’s vocals are just right soaring slightly above the rest of the instruments. This was the legendary Accept frontman at his very best after all, so I could see that they very well wanted him to be heard – and he strikes with a thunder. This album may have released four years before I was actually born into the world, but I can certainly go back and appreciate it in modern times. It marks the true sound of eighties heavy metal, which is heavily emulated but never perfectly replicated. When we get to “Cant Stand The Night” I feel that this is the moment where the performance has been wholly solidified. A ballad with some real balls, featuring Udo at his most soaring of falesttos, with light romantic melodies quite similar to Ozzy‘s “Farewell To Romance.” Unfortunately, the song ended a bit short – which I wouldn’t have expected, but if you just catch the very end note of it before it fades out, you will see that Udo is full fucking force here – he belts out one hell of a line there, which we don’t really get to hear on the disc and it would have made you want to pack your shit and head for the nearest Accept concert back in those days.

Following that, we have some more of that AC/DC style in “Son Of A Bitch” which was actually a message from the band to the industry around that time. This is without a doubt, the kind of hard-hitting rock anthem that would not be forgotten, but later slightly paved over in accessibility with “Balls To The Wall” which sould come years later. It is still a killer track, with an unmistakable guitar frenzy towards the end. That’s how heavy metal should sound, folks. Right after that, we almost have the choral hymn of rock n’ roll called “Burning.” Once you’ve heard this classic rocker, you won’t be able to get it out of your head for days. I was singing that chorus to myself practically the whole rest of the day at work, just after I’d first heard the cut. It almost has a religious tone in the manner of repeitition, like a sort of rock gospel. This isn’t just good heavy metal, it’s good rock in general – and around this time, they were both considered pretty much the same thing. “Midnight Highway” feels like it has some Deep Purple influence, definitely encroaching upon that sixties spirit with a dose of AC/DC riffs thrown into the chorus.

“Breaking Up Again” of course features another wonderful vocal performance by bassist Peter Baltes, with the addition of an absolutely soul-crushing guitar solo. But that isn’t how the band chose to end the album, with the almost ZZ-Top funk rocker “Down and Out” closing the record on a superbly high note, adding in touches of AC/DC when necessary. Accept have a ton of influences here, but they all seem to work just perfectly when it comes down to it. Regardless, this is the heaviest they’ve sounded yet and it’s an entrance exam into the world of heavy metal – one that they’ve passed with flying colors. This is the album that made the band and essential listening, in my opinion.

(12 Tracks, 52:00)

8/10

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