NEPA Scene Staff

German metal band Accept gets heavy and ‘Mean’ at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on July 2

German metal band Accept gets heavy and ‘Mean’ at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on July 2
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From a press release:

Penn’s Peak adjusted to the pandemic and kept live music alive with socially distanced events, but now that COVID-19 cases are down and indoor restrictions have been lifted, the Jim Thorpe venue is finally welcoming national and international touring acts back to its stage, the first coming 482 days after its last big show.

After rescheduling their 2020 and early 2021 dates, German heavy metal band Accept and Southern hard rockers Blackfoot will perform on Friday, July 2. Doors at Penn’s Peak (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe) open at 7 p.m., and the concert starts at 8 p.m.

Tickets, which are $29 in advance or $34 the day of the show, are on sale now via Ticketmaster, the Penn’s Peak box office, and at Roadies Restaurant and Bar (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe). Box office and Roadies Restaurant ticket sales are walk-up only; no phone orders.

After creating a string of all-time metal classics in the 1980s like “Breaker” (1981), “Balls to the Wall” (1983), and “Metal Heart” (1985) that made them iconic, Accept still hasn’t peaked. The German kingpins of heavy metal are back with their eagerly-awaited 16th studio album, “Too Mean to Die,” released on Jan. 29 via Nuclear Blast.

When Accept first launched at the end of the ’70s, the metal genre didn’t even exist as it is known today – at first, the band could only be labeled with the (quality) seal “crazy loud and crazy wild.” Today, fans know that this was – and is – metal par excellence as they opened the door to thrash metal, inspiring giants such as Metallica. Kirk Hammett recently stated in the German magazine “Gitarre & Bass” that Accept founding guitarist “Wolf Hoffmann has a huge influence on me.”

Accept, who once had their origins in the city of Solingen, a city of sound, has been a worldwide music phenomenon for more than 40 years. They still impress with razor-sharp guitar licks and a steel-hard sound. Countless world tours and headlining slots at the biggest, cutting-edge festivals cemented the band’s reputation as one of the best, hottest, and loudest live acts ever.

In addition, the group has sold millions of records, achieving gold status in the United States, Top 10 chart positions worldwide, and a No. 1 album (Germany, Finland) with “Blind Rage” (2014). Still featuring founding guitarist Wolf Hoffmann in their lineup, “Too Mean to Die” is the fifth Accept album that American singer and frontman Mark Tornillo has put his incomparable vocal stamp on.

Recorded in the world music capital of Nashville, their music was once again produced and mixed by Andy Sneap. The British master producer, who works for Judas Priest and Megadeth among others, has been responsible for all Accept productions since 2010.

“From the very beginning, it was clear to us that we would start working with Andy again,” Hoffmann stated. No sooner said than done – the band and Sneap met in March of 2020 for their first studio recordings in Nashville. What they couldn’t guess at the time was that a certain virus would suddenly turn the world upside down.

After only two weeks in the studio – and facing the threat of a lockdown – they all decided to abruptly interrupt the recording session. “The risk that none of us would be able to return home at that time was simply too great,” Hoffmann explained.

But Accept has overcome many different challenges throughout their four-decade long career, so they gathered in Nashville again in July to continue working on the album. Only one person was missing – Andy Sneap.

“Andy couldn’t come from England, so we had to find an alternative way, which went like this: Andy was sitting at his PC in England, and we recorded the songs and communicated with him online. He produced from a distance, so to speak. Amazingly, it worked better than we thought it would… Fortunately, we had already recorded a large part of the songs before the break, so the experiment with Andy Sneap working as remote producer worked well,” Hoffmann recalled.

Special circumstances often lead to very special albums. This is certainly true for “Too Mean to Die,” which of course alludes to the pandemic period, although in a different way than one might assume.

“It’s to be expected that many musicians will address the corona situation in their songs. There will certainly be slogans for cohesion, through which positive vibes should be spread, which is also good, but we have decided to not let ourselves be influenced by it,” Hoffmann said. “The fans will get a hard, direct, and uncompromising metal album, but of course accompanied with a wink – we are too mean to die! Weeds do not go away! Accept do not let themselves get down!”

He isn’t wrong, as the title track is a classic Accept cracker – dynamic and unwavering, turned up to 11. “Zombie Apocalypse,” also relentless and hard, strikes the same note in the band’s signature style. The first single, “The Undertaker,” is different, a terrific midtempo number with great vocals and a built-in character that chugs along – certain to deliver some memorable live moments. Hoffmann believes it’s one of the most catchy, pleasing pieces of the album.

New to the band, and thus to be heard for the first time on an Accept album, is Philip Shouse (Gene Simmons Band, among others). The American guitarist fights hot duels with Hoffmann, while Uwe Lulis makes the guitar trio perfect and provides the right rhythm. “Phil was part of our orchestra project and was also completely convincing live. We recognized his great talent immediately and simply didn’t let him go,” Hoffmann noted.

Just how varied the guitar trio performs on the new album is proven by one of the secret highlights, “The Best Is Yet to Come,” a beguiling ballad in which Tornillo is at his best. The metal world knows that he can scream like no other, but here it shows once again that the frontman can also sing magnificently. “Mark sang this, for us, rather unusual song stunningly well. The fantastic thing about Mark is that he not only masters the typical metal screams, but can also sing melodically and beautifully. He proves this impressively in this song,” Hoffmann raved.

The chief guitarist’s approval came right at the beginning of their 2010 collaboration on Accept’s milestone album “Blood of the Nations,” a seal of quality that is still going strong today. On “Too Mean to Die,” the congenial duo Hoffmann and Tornillo present the highlight of their work so far.

In addition, Accept has strengthened their team even further with newcomers Martin Motnik (bass) and Philip Shouse (guitar), thus forming an unbeatable team together with “drum god” Christopher Williams and “rhythm master” Uwe Lulis. With “Too Mean to Die,” there’s no doubt that the group is once again playing at the top of their genre.

Blackfoot was originally formed in ’70s by Rickey Medlocke, current lead guitarist of Lynyrd Skynyrd. They have always been defined by their hard rock edge, evident on their most successful singles “Train, Train” and “Highway Song.” Constantly looking for ways to challenge his creative impulses, Medlocke recruited a completely new lineup decades later to continue the music of Blackfoot for new generations.