One of the most celebrated and unashamed of all metal bands, Accept release Blind Rage this month. It’s their 14th studio album in a career lasting nearly 40 years. But, as guitarist and founder Wolf Hoffmann explains, the desire and punch are still there for these brothers of the power chord.
Welcome Back: Accept
German veterans now fronted by an American? No problem, they say. Just don’t mention... well, you know.
The new album sounds a little more extreme. Is that deliberate?
That’s odd, because some people reckon it’s heavier than Stalingrad [the band’s last album, released in 2012], while others believe it’s more melodic. I think it represents all sides of Accept.
Accept were certainly a major inf luence on the early thrash scene.
[Laughs] We were! So many of those Bay Area bands tell me that [fourth album] Restless & Wild, especially Fast As A Shark, was an inspiration for them. Even Phil Anselmo told me it gave him the push to get in a band. We were never thrash ourselves, but had fast moments.
Is there one song from the new record that you can pick out for having unusual lyrics?
There’s The Last Of A Dying Breed. That’s our way of paying homage to Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and the pioneering bands who influenced us. We imagined ourselves standing by Ronnie James Dio’s grave and raising a glass in his honour.
Are you suggesting with that title that metal is virtually dead?
No way. It’s more about how so many of our heroes have died, and in the next 10 or 20 years they’ll all be gone.
Where would you say the new album stands compared to the classic Accept albums Restless & Wild _or _Balls To The Wall?
This record is very much a nod back to the eighties. It’s not that we were deliberately trying to recreate what was a great era for us, but there are songs which would have fitted on Balls To The Wall or Metal Heart. Our producer, Andy Sneap, has given us a true Accept sound.
You now have an American, Mark Tornillo, fronting a German metal band. How does that feel?
He’s phenomenal. He has the voice to sing the old songs and make these his own. And his range is bigger than anyone we’ve ever worked with before, which gives us more scope.
But an American fitting in socially with four Germans must cause its own problems.
No, because we avoid discussing subjects like politics and religion. And he has different views on gun control to the rest of us, but... hey, we stick to music, so everything’s fine with him.
You have a career as a photographer too. What sort of work do you do?
I do advertising and corporate commissions. Very boring, but that’s where the budgets are. It’s totally different to rock’n’roll. But it’s great having two completely different careers.
Are there any plans for you to publish your own photo book?
My photography wouldn’t work in book form. However, there might be a historical photo guide to Accept one day. I’ve been going through loads of old photos and there’s some incredible unseen stuff.
Blind Rage is out now via Nuclear Blast.