ACCEPT – Balls To The Wall + Staying A Life [Expanded / Remastered]
“Balls To The Wall” was the album that made ACCEPT famous all over the World, and without a doubt, it’s one of their best. For sure it deserved a Deluxe Edition, and prestigious British label Hear No Evil / Cherry Red Records did a great job putting out this “Balls To The Wall / Staying A Life“, a double CD in a remastered form.
I love “Balls To The Wall”, it’s like a soundtrack of my youth. Not only includes 10 killer tracks, it also redefined the ‘metal sound’ of the Eighties, with a production – courtesy of master Michael Wagener – that set a new bar for what heavy rock could sound like on a record.
From the fantastically catchy chord progressions, clean and sharp dual guitar attack with incredibly stylish solos, mammoth bass sounds and the war-beating drums to the unique, ‘special’ vocals of Udo Dirkschneider, everything here is like a time bomb ready to explode.
Despite its heavy pedigree, “Balls To The Wall” is plenty of extremely commercial and catchy cuts. Songs like “Turn Me On” and “Love Child” are essentially melodic hard rock numbers neatly wrapped in an ’80s heavy metal package with their soaring guitars, driving bass and singable choruses.
Of course we have fast stabs in “Fight It Back” and “Losers and Winners”. Their energy and aggressiveness resemble those of an air raid, with dropping bombs, aiming to obliterate everything and everyone. The guitars of Herman Frank and Wolf Hoffmann, like in the whole album are like machine guns, spitting fire and lead and woe to anyone who dares to resist.
“Head Over Heels”, “Guardian of the Night”, “Losing More Than You’ve Ever Had”; which of these songs can you forget and ignore as the rockin’ attack continues with the same strength and force? The only real balladry on the album can be found in the last track “Winterdreams”, yet not losing the muscle and vibrancy of the previous.
But my absolute faves are the title track and “London Leatherboys”, two hymns that have stood the test of time transcending the genres, standing still strong and proud.
“Balls To The Wall” and its gritty, even somewhat perverse tale of revolution is a real monster. It became Accept’s signature tune and remains a metal anthem and trademark in the genre. The pre-chorus buildup, the ferocious gang vocals during the main chorus, shrieking guitars, and Udo shouts certainly make one want to get the f#ck up and headbang against a brick wall until nothing is left but said swinging sack between one’s legs.
Both songs have so damn heavy guitars and such great riffs that you can not deny their sweet, yet fatal attraction. They are like magnets, drawing you ever closer to the majesty of Accept.
“Balls To The Wall” was Accept’s greatest commercial success, reaching number 75 in the US Billboard Hot 100 receiving gold status, partly off the back of the heavy rotation the title track video received on MTV.
Some of the triumph as well can no doubt be attributed to the publicity generated from the minor ‘gay metal’ controversy that broke out upon its American release, due to the record’s title and front cover being deemed by some as homoerotic, as well as the lyrics to “London Leatherboys” and “Love Child” appearing to concern homosexuals.
But the truth is much more simple: “Balls To The Wall” is an outstanding Rock album.
To my ears, this reissue / remaster is far superior than the 2001, and includes the great “Staying A Life”, a live album recorded at the Festival Hall, Osaka, Japan on 18th September 1985, originally only released in Asia a really hard to find. The remastering job on both is superb.
If anyone should ever ask you what on Earth was and how did heavy metal sound in the early ’80s, leave aside the pointless analyses and answer him: “Balls To The Wall”. It would be a sacrilege even to think of ignoring this classic, hard ‘n heavy temple all believers should bow to. And it would be the outmost, unforgiving sin not to possess it.
A Must Have.
Disc 1: “Balls To The Wall” remastered
01 – Balls To The Wall
02 – London Leatherboys
03 – Fight It Back
04 – Head Over Heels
05 – Losing More Than You’ve Ever Had
06 – Love Child
07 – Turn Me On
08 – Losers And Winners
09 – Guardian Of The Night
10 – Winter Dreams
Disc 2: “Staying A Life” remastered
01 – Metal Heart
02 – Breaker
03 – Screaming For A Love Bite
04 – Up To The Limit
05 – Living For Tonight
06 – Princess Of The Dawn
07 – Guitar Solo Wolf
08 – Restless And Wild
09 – Son Of A Bitch
10 – London Leatherboys
11 – Love Child
12 – Flash Rockin’ Man
13 – Dogs On Leads
14 – Fast As A Shark
15 – Balls To The Wall
Udo Dirkschneider – vocals
Wolf Hoffmann – guitar
Herman Frank – guitar
Peter Baltes – bass guitar
Stefan Kaufmann – drums
BUY IT !