rating icon 7.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Diving Into Sin
02. Humanoid
03. Frankenstein
04. Man Up
05. The Reckoning
06. Nobody Gets Out Alive
07. Ravages Of Time
08. Unbreakable
09. Mind Games
10. Straight Up Jack
11. Southside Of Hell

As reliable as clockwork and as true as they come, ACCEPT have turned their 2009 reset into a tale of renewed triumph. Ever since the German legends reconvened, with new vocalist Mark Tornillo boldly stepping into the fray, they have fought and conquered with the same youthful vigor that fueled their ambitions and desires in the early days. Lineup changes have occurred along the way, leaving only Tornillo and talismanic guitarist Wolf Hoffmann from the reunion configuration, but the essence of ACCEPT's eternally unpretentious sound and dogged spirit remains the same. "Humanoid" is the sixth album they have recorded in collaboration with the legendary Andy Sneap, and for those who enjoyed the previous five, there is absolutely nothing here that fails to live up to expectations. ACCEPT are, and have always been, exceptionally good at heavy metal. It's their thing.

Once we get past the inevitably impeccable production and the small revelation that ACCEPT haven't changed a bit, "Humanoid" can be devoured as another generous serving of fresh metal anthems. "Diving Into Sin" fulfils the explosive opener brief, and the title track is sufficiently belligerent and memorable that it can safely be added to the band's set lists for the foreseeable future. "Frankenstein" is a classic metal mini-monster movie, with deadpan gang vocals and a touch of goofy melodrama; "Man Up" delves into the Germans' hard rock roots, broods about life's habit of hitting us "like a brick to the head," and then slaps down a chorus that aims to inspire us all to get on with things and stop moaning about our respective calamities. Fair enough, if not a bit harsh.

"Humanoid" really takes off with "The Reckoning": a nails-hard metal banger that swings like an elephant's scrotum, it brings darker hues to ACCEPT's otherwise gleaming color palette, not to mention a solo — I'm assuming from Hoffmann — that does great things for the whole concept of mad-eyed showboating. Far looser is "Nobody Gets Out Of Alive", a breezy blast of rock 'n' roll, full of paint-stripping Tornillo squeals and, in all fairness, some slightly more inspirational life advice than was offered in "Man Up". An elegant, if lachrymose ballad, "Ravages Of Time" is very much not the kind of song that ACCEPT would have written in 1983, but there is no doubting the sincerity or indeed accuracy of the sentiment ("Nothing is forever…"),  and Hoffman's gift for fluid and inventive schmaltz is still undeniable.

Back on head-banging territory, both the concrete block crunch of "Unbreakable" and the galloping hook-fest of "Mind Games" are among the finest songs that the band have written since 2009; while "Straight Up Jack" is so unapologetic about its debt to AC/DC that resistance is useless. Simply play it loud and grin along. No ACCEPT album would be complete without a bravura bit of showing off from Wolf Hoffmann, and the closing "Southside Of Hell" sees the great man rattling effortlessly through some of his sharpest, stainless steel licks, while Tornillo wails commandingly in the foreground. It's one of many moments on "Humanoid" that spark and fizz with so much energy and intensity that it may be hard to believe that ACCEPT are in their sixth decade as a band. This fire still burns regardless.

Author: Dom Lawson
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