Burn Baby Burn Heavy Metal Inferno!!! What an artwork cover, what a brilliant inspiration and choice from Accept in a shout-out statement “mother fuckers we play Heavy Metal and we grab you from the throat and burn the whole damn place to the ground from hello” is that indeed! Well it’s not only the 40th anniversary of the album that made me write about it. It is also the two live shows in Athens and Thessaloniki in 2 and 3 of June that gives me the excellent opportunity to make a small tribute to this masterpiece.
In 1982 Accept was a band that was more than promising but a bit far from being named the next big thing. But Restless and Wild along with its 2 successorσ Balls to the Wall (1983) and Metal Heart (1985) established them as a big name. Unfortunately wrong choices and big mistakes didn’t let Accept join the small club of -commercial-megatheriums, yet the band is one of the greatest ever that played in the Heavy Metal stages around the globe. But truth be told this opinion wasn’t so popular many years ago though… I still remember very strongly as it was the time I ever saw them in a live concert in legendary (and now a super market unfortunately) Rodon Live Club in Athens, that in mid-90’s less than a decade after their peak that the back then recently reunited Germans were treated as a ghost from the past, a retro 80’s band that only cult fans were into…thankfully after many fights, another round of mistakes and ups and downs and with a very different line up, but with the same philosophy and attitude, the guys from Solingen have won a legendary status, while every studio album they release since 2010 is the talk of the town for all metalheads…even without Udo Dirksneider behind the microphone…
But let’s get back to 1982…the band walks in Dierks Studios with Scorpions fame Dieter Dierks and Michael Wagener on producer’s role trying to compete their own selves as 1981’s Breaker was definitely strong and decent, but it was like something missing out of it in order for the band to capitalize their momentum. Fortunately all of their members who wrote the 10 songs (plus as well their manager Gaby Hauke aka “Deaffy” in her first time that gained credits on songwriting) of the album managed to create a unique result as their compositions were mature, without losing any of their thirst for blood while it turned that the choice to speed up things in some songs and to add more personality in the songs cutting the umbilical cord from Judas Priest that was their main influence, and made them pioneers of speed metal/Teutonic power while keeping their straight forward rocker character.
Restless and Wild starts with a German folk children’s song as an intro… “Heidi, heido, heida/Heidi, heido, heida/Heidi, heido, heida hahahahahahaha” then Udo screams while the Wolf Hoffmann’s sharp guitars crack the sky and the double kicking drumming by Stefan Kaufmann is pummeling your brain:
“Fog in the streets/A church clock beats
Midnight – darkness all around…
Fast as a shark he’ll cut out of the dark
He’s a killer – he’ll rip out your heart
On a one way track and you’re not coming back
’cause the killer’s on the attack…”
Fuck I’m singing the chorus verses while I’m writing the article and air-guitaring the Hoffmann’s twin solo!
Wisely the following title track slows down the tempo and features some characteristic galloping riffs. Same for the whole A’ side of the LP that moves mostly in mid-tempo rhythms. Ahead of the pack is a straightforward classic rocker in which the solid rhythm section and Udo’s voice dominating the song that sounds like a raw version of Judas Priest circa 1979. Shake Your Heads is again mid tempo with a controlled head banging vibe and it has one of the most brilliant parts in Heavy Metal from 02:48-03:18 when Hoffman’s dramatic guitars make all violins sound poor in front of its melody. Neon Nights is pretty damn catchy, again slow and sometimes mid tempo; almost a ballad. B side starts with Get Ready. Not so strong for a side opener though it is a song that is close enough to the band’s 70’s roots while probably will bring you in mind UFO. Demon’s Nights play the card of occult lyrics and its again a pure 80’s rocker before we meet one of the bands finest moments and fans favorites Flash Rockin’ Man. Well Flash Rockin’ Man has the most recycled riff in Heavy Metal music as its main theme, sounding similar to Iron Maiden’s ‘Two Minutes to Midnight’, Rory Gallagher’s ‘Moonchild’, Thin Lizzy ‘Killer without a Cause’, White Spirit’s ‘ Midnight Chaser’, Riot’s ‘Sword and Tequila’, Saxon’s ‘Never Surrender’, Venom’s ‘Welcone to Hell’, Judas Priest’s ‘Heading out to the Highway’, Tygers of Pan Tang’s ‘Hellhound’, Praying Mantis’ ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ and fianlly ‘Phantoms of Death’ by Helloween as far as I can recall from my memory!!!!Still a great song as all the aforementioned!!!! Don’t Go Stealing My Soul Away is in the veins of Scorpions-like songs in my ears and I definitely say it in a good way. Catchy chorus, uplifting composition with a strong positive vibe. The closing of the album is more than epic. Actually now that I’m thinking it twice Restless and Wild couldn’t be less than majestic with such an opener and such a great closer. Of course I’m talking about the jaw-dropping Princess of the Dawn. An instant classic from day one, a crowd pleaser, a hymn of Heavy Metal that combines classical music elements, lyrics for “a Cinderella story” given a la 80’s fantasy -that may look weird to some but its damn cult- and divine guitars.
Restless and Wild is a true gem of our music, a buy or die situation, a must have in your collection, the kind of albums that bring new blood to our music whenever a teenager hears it for the first time in his/her life. It is also a record that profoundly influenced a generation of musicians in Germany (especially) but also abroad for now almost 40 years. A marvelous amalgam of top notch mid paced Heavy metal blended with 70’s inspired rockers, classical music themes, sharp riffs, catchy choruses, killer blistering solos, Udo Dirkschnieder’s unique, raspy screams and mellow voice in great shape, with adventurous spirit and ballsy will to create something different (but not far from their origins though) and classy.
Restless and Wild is the fourth studio album by and it was originally out on 4th October 1982 via Brain Records.
“Shake your heads, ’til your necks are breaking…shake your heads, ’til your Flying V’s are burning…”