There is a difference between being caught in a rut and doing what you know you’re good at. I don’t really know the difference personally and I don’t think tired old dogs like AC/DC do either, but Accept sure does. Despite replacing lead guitarist Herman Frank and drummer Stefan Schwarzmann with Uwe Lulis and Christopher Williams respectively, Accept’s fifteenth studio album is a near carbon copy of every album that the Teutonic terror has released since 2010’s Blood of the Nations. Fortunately it’s really hard to dislike receiving more of the same when the band is so enthusiastic about presenting it.
As expected, The Rise of Chaos offers more of Accept’s distinct brand of classic speed metal with the same combination of energetic tempos, driven guitars and bass, and husky lead and backing vocals. If anything, the formula may be a little more simplified this time around. In contrast to the more melodic flavor on 2014’s Blind Rage, there’s more emphasis on the faster songs. The structures are also more basic and the lyrics may be blunter than they already were.
This is best demonstrated with the way the choruses are written, as they mostly stick to the band’s unique backing vocals punctuating certain phrases or song titles without as much expansion on their ideas. It’s not a serious deal breaker, as these lines are still fun to hear and the band’s energy keeps things from feeling tired, but the actual compositions aren’t as epic as the band clearly wants them to be.
There are still some pretty good songs on here, though. I never thought I’d say that a song called “Koolaid” would be the best on an Accept album, but it is a pretty rocking mid-tempo tune with some chilling lyrics showcasing a survivor’s narrative of the Jonestown Massacre. I also give props to “Analog Man,” another solid song that deals with the theme of feeling out of place in a more technologically savvy culture. Being one of those millennial types that these songs complain about, I like how the lyrics seem to be a personal lament rather than boasting superiority or antagonizing the world at large.
It’s amusing how an album called The Rise of Chaos is pretty exemplary of a band operating as orderly as Mussolini’s alleged train schedule. Classic metal fans that have followed Accept since they acquired Mark Tornillo will find more of what they loved about Stalingrad and the like, while those who weren’t convinced by previous efforts sure won’t be converted here. But while overthinkers like me may question the gradually diminishing returns of the songwriting, the fun factor keeps things from slipping into the doldrums. As long as the band keeps up the energy, this is a good niche for them to reside.
The Rise of Chaos is now available via Nuclear Blast Records.