Accept - Metal Blast from the Past
R0 - Germany - Drakkar Entertainment/MVD Distribution
Review written by and copyright: Simo Liikanen (31st December 2007).
The Film

There is no doubt that Heavy Metal ruled music in the eighties. Aside from American bands, many of the more influential bands of the era came from Europe. Germany produced two early pioneers of Heavy Metal, the still existing Scorpions and the now bygone Accept.

Of these two Accept had the most distinguishable sound. The vocalist Udo Dirkschneider sang with a wailing that is impossible to impersonate. The rhythm section of bassist Peter Baltes and drummer Stephan Kauffman pounded a steady and merciless foundation for songs. What really set the band aside from their peers (apart from Udo's vocals) was the frightening precision of the dual guitars of Wolf Hoffmann and Fischer. The axe work was exceptionally t-i-g-h-t, and their playing struck a chord in the heavy metal audiences in Europe, the US and Asia.

This classic line-up of the band took years to form. Despite its success in the '80s the band imploded from the pressures of the industry in 1988 after significant personnel changes. However, the core of the band (with only one guitarist) was revived by public demand in the early nineties. The diminished popular appeal (the torch had been passed on from Heavy Metal to Grunge) made the welcome comeback tough. The band eventually disbanded for the second time in 1996. In 2005 they played together at a few festivals without plans for further career.

This DVD sums up the visual history of the band. It brings together Still A Life, a concert release from the mid-'80s, all promotional clips and a couple of songs from a Bulgarian TV-broadcast from the early '90s comeback era.

During the '80s, every Metal band's claim to fame was a live release from Japan. In 1985, Accept recorded their Osaka concert for a release on video. As was the rule, the videos of the '80s were usually edited to run no more than 60 minutes. This live video showcases the awesome form of the band at the top of their popularity. Guitar playing on "Fast as a Shark" is stunning, and the band rips through the classic set vigorously.

The promotional clips have been intertwined into the live gig in Osaka, which is not unusual. It is almost funny to compare the tacky posing of 'Balls to the Wall' the video with the live version of the same song. Superimposed is also some silly still photography of the band all over the world.

So far so good. What really, in my opinion, gets close to ruining the experience is the totally unnecessary narration bridging songs and introducing videos in the same vein as jingles are added in radio live broadcasts. This is not a radio show, and I prefer my live concerts uninterrupted. The artificiality of the comments adds to the anxiety: "Enjoy the band, enjoy the music, enjoy... Accept! Yes I would, thank you very much, but without such forced comments. However, if you're able to overlook this detail, the concert itself gives a good impression of the band's live form.

"Staying A Life" Osaka set:
-Metal Heart
-Breaker
-Screaming for a Love-Bite
-Up to the Limit
-Living for Tonite
-Princess of the Dawn
-Restless and Wild
-Son of a Bitch
-London Leatherboys
-Fast as a Shark
-Balls to the Wall
-Outro (Bound to Fail)

Three live songs from a 1993 come back period taken off from a Bulgarian TV show are a sharp contrast to the slicker Japanese concert. Playing is rougher and the style more uncompromising.

Sofia set:
-Slaves to the Metal (on cover erroneously titled as Starlight)
-Objection Overruled (on cover erroneously titled as Slaves to the Metal)
-Bullet Proof (on cover erroneously titled as Objection Overruled)

The trail of promotional videos give a quick cross section of the bands career. From an early TV show through to bigger budget videos, they show the line-up changes and eventual dwindling of the band.

Promo videos:
-Im a Rebel
-Balls to the Wall
-Midnight Mover
-Generation Clash
-Protectors of Terror
-Slaves to the Metal
-Death Row

The 'Behind the Scenes' section offers a very brief glimpse of the band on tour and in interviews, and actually does not hugely add value to the whole package.

Video

Due to various sources the overall visuals of the DVD is uneven. The Osaka show represents typically static video shooting of the '80s with a lot of side angles from below. Accordingly, the editing is neither wild nor restless. This is clearly a VHS transfer: sharpness is soft and colours are somewhat blurry.

Promotional videos span nearly 15 years in time. Balls to the Wall is influenced by German impressionistic cinematography of the 1920s and Midnight Mover with infernal editing to a breathtaking effect has to be one of the better videos of the mid '80s. Latter videos use newsreel video collage techniques and are a far leap form the early TV shows.

Aspect ratio is 4:3 and the DVD runs for 166:49 minutes. DVD-side is coded R0.

Audio

Regular Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, no subtitles. Osaka show is clearly more produced and the instruments are more balanced. Superimposed narration cuts mid-sentence while viewing songs individually. Sofia show is less produced and retains a trashier live atmosphere, which contrasts greatly with promotional clips. Each seems to have their place in the combined package.

Extras

The distinctions of extras is little difficult, but in addition to the aforementioned two shows, individual promotional videos and Behind the Scenes clips, a great wealth of band related material can be found on the disc:

-Photo gallery (includes more than 20 additional pictures covering the band's career).
-Discography (includes all 15 album covers and all song lyrics).
-Biography (details all the band's stages of life).
-Audio selection (selected tracks from each album).
-Web links.

"DVDplus" (DVD on one side, CD on the other) has also CD-side, including audio demos, extra tracks and alternative versions of song from different eras:
-Rich and Famous
-Rocking for the Sun
-Morniung Sun
-Run if You Can
-Down and Out
-Can't Stand the Night
-Breaker
-Burning
-Writing on the Wall

Overall

Taking into consideration the massive amount of information and audio tracks, this Metal Blast is definitely a great cross section presentation and introduction to Accept. With more respectable handling of the Osaka part this would have been a benchmark for many music DVDs, but as it is it's a decent overview of the bands history.

This "DVDplus"-disc was originally released in Germany, but distributed in the US by "MVD Distribution".

The Film: Video: Audio: Extras: Overall:

 


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