DB HOF NO. 57
The making of Accept’s “Restless and Wild”
released: October 1982
In early 1982, Accept were in dire need of an identity, onstage and especially on record. With three decent albums behind them, all the Solingen, Germany band wanted when they entered the studio owned by famed Scorpions producer Dieter Dierks was to put together a consistent record that could equal the intensity of their live show, and hopefully allow them to tour Europe a little more. Little did they know that Restless and Wild would break new ground in heavy metal, profoundly influence a generation of musicians in Germany and abroad, and, with the help of ambitious new manager Gaby Hauke, kick off a spectacular three-album run that would see Accept become one of metal’s upper-tier acts during the mid ’80s.
What springs to mind first about Restless and Wild, aside from the infamous polka intro (who said Germans have no sense of humor?), is the neck-snapping opener “Fast as a Shark,” and for good reason. Pre-dating Kill ’Em All by a full year, it fused speed and heaviness like no band had done before, Stefan Kaufmann’s constant double-kick barrage pulverizing, guitarist Wolf Hoffmann and bassist Peter Baltes performing with clinical precision (Hoffmann’s twin solo is astounding), and the camouflage-sportin’ Udo Dirkschneider unleashing his ungodly snarl, a diminutive yet imposing drill sergeant flanked by tall Teutonic metalheads. However, delve deeper into the 44-minute record and you’ll hear a young band not only bursting with ideas, but disciplined enough to make such a diverse album sound cohesive throughout. The sequencing is brilliant: You’ve got a rampaging galloper (“Restless and Wild”), a couple of Judas Priest-style rave-ups (“Shake Your Heads,” “Get Ready”), a murky mood piece (“Neon Nights”) and its considerably darker Side Two companion (“Demon’s Night”), and a handful of UFO-style, riff-centric rockers (“Ahead of the Pack,” “Flash Rockin’ Man,” “Don’t Go Stealing My Soul Away”), with the whole shebang culminating in the jaw-dropping, incomprehensible, wickedly catchy “Princess of the Dawn,” a Krautrock-esque experiment in groove and studio assemblage that brazenly defied heavy metal convention.
Although that classic lineup has since split—Hoffmann, Baltes and guitarist Herman Frank carrying on as Accept while Dirkschneider and Kaufmann solider ahead with U.D.O.—both factions were more than happy to talk about a period they all remember with great fondness. —Adrien Begrand
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