Germany’s Accept are one of the greatest straight-up metal bands of all time, period. And while it took them a couple albums to find their footing, when they dropped 1981’s Breaker it was clear that things were about to change. And change they did with the following year’s Restless and Wild, an album that starts off ridiculous thrash then settles into a comfortable, moody Accept groove, the band finally finding, and perfecting, their sound, with madman vocalist Udo Dirkschneider absolutely killing it with his vocal performance here.
Our own Adrien Begrand inducted the album into our Hall of Fame back in our November 2009 issue, which you can still grab a copy of right here. Let’s take a look back at the album, ranking each song from worst to best, because it’s always time for a little Accept.
10. Don’t Go Stealing My Soul Away
You know what I always loved about this song, placed as the second-to-last on the album? That, despite what its name seemed to promise, it wasn’t a ballad, which the band had a habit of throwing on their albums to ruin the flow. Instead, we get, like “Get Ready,” a quick and economic rocker with a killer chorus, great melodies, and a good guitar solo. Like all Accept during this era, it makes the listener feel like they’re moving mountains with that chorus. “Worst” song on the album, and it’s great: this record is incredible.
9. Get Ready
How to start off side two of an album as massive, as life-affirming, as this? With a quick and concise, early Priest-ian rocker, which “Get Ready” certainly is, the band showing they’ve got the goods to do battle with Scorpions or AC/DC when it comes to radio-ready rock anthems of the day. Nothing mind-melting or earth-shattering here, just fast-and-lean rock and metal, done right.
8. Princess of the Dawn
Alright, I know this is considered an Accept classic but sitting through endless, insufferable, extended versions of it on live albums has sort of killed it for me, and I was never fully convinced about it to begin with. But, let’s go back to 1982 and realize that this is a cool, slow-burning, atmospheric way to end an album that has for the most part been firing on all cylinders, the band showing they’re not afraid to try at least a couple different sounds at this point. Udo’s totally killing it behind the mic, too.
7. Flash Rockin’ Man
The trouble with classic albums is that even great songs need to take up the lower half of the list, here an Accept classic placed down near the bottom end only because, while it rocks hard and compact and awesome, it doesn’t bring much to the table that the other songs haven’t already at this point on the record, as it ushers in the final three tunes. Still, I love it, you love it, we all love it.
6. Demon’s Night
This is 1982 metal, all right: the feel-good riffs clash against the evil of the song title in the chorus, although the verse does bring things down to a slower, more sinister trudge. The band show off smart chord changes and an inside-out knowledge of what makes great metal riffs great here. If it’s good enough for Cannibal Corpse, it’s good enough for you.
5. Ahead of the Pack
Man, weren’t Accept just at the top of their songwriting game around this era? “Ahead of the Pack” is full of the Accept guitar work that we all love so much, the anthemic verse and ultra-anthemic chorus, the killer climax and resolve… It’s all here, the third song on this album showing that ain’t no one slowing down here midway through side one, so sit back and enjoy the ride. I love that little pause in the first riff too, always have and always will.
4. Neon Nights
I’ll forever curse the band for naming this song what they did because every single time I have to double-check which one is the Sabbath one and which one is the Accept one, but that does not take away from the goddamn chorus of this song. Massive, glorious, victorious… it’s a thing of beauty. The verses basically go in one ear and out the other, but they make a mood, and the chorus is Accept on top of their game, on top of the world. Yeah, that’s a hell of a chorus. The groovin’ guitar solo part is rad too, and when they pick up the pace at the end of the song and go double time? Forget it.
3. Shake Your Heads
It’s always awesome when Accept drop to a mid-tempo and craft one of their moodier songs. They’re no less anthemic, and no less rocking, they just require the headbanging tempo to be a bit more moderate, as it is every single time I spin this incredible song, Udo barking at me to do something, I don’t know, bang my head, I’m guessing, which is precisely what happens when this stomper comes on. Play it when people are leaving my funeral, man, because this song completely rules.
2. Restless and Wild
Accept always got moody riffing right, and the title track of this classic album is a great example of that, with both the quieter riffs and the Udo-banshee riffs creating an excellent atmosphere. And how about that chorus? Or that bridge? It’s all awesome, the band crafting a classic Accept anthem, really getting to that sweet spot they’d spend tons more time in on their next full-length.
1. Fast as a Shark
It’s a bit obvious having “Fast as a Shark” taking top slot here, but there’s good reason for it: the song is insane, kicking off Restless and Wild with an outrageous double-bass-led thrash attack, the band sounding way more aggressive than anything hinted at previously, and indeed way more aggressive than most 1982 metal period, the song scorching along at tempos making Lemmy and Cronos a bit nervous, the whole thing a glorious cacophony of speed, songwriting skill, and pure metal glory.