Accept - Islington Academy, London
Tonight German heavy-metal purists Accept make a long overdue return to British shores in advance of the release of their first new studio album in fourteen years, out in September. While this reunited classic band don't feature the presence of original vocalist Udo Dirkschneider, they have found a more than suitable replacement in the shape of former TT Quick singer, Mark Tornillo. From the start he shows us exactly why he was chosen to walk in Udo's shoes, injecting equal parts Brian Johnson and Klaus Meine into the night's proceedings.
Talking of all things AC/DC, the night before this very gig Accept supported the Aussie rock legends and played in front of tens of thousands of people in Germany. So it's a testament to the bands skill that they can bring that epic, arena rock feeling to such an intimate venue. The band kick off with a storming 'Metal Heart', before moving straight into 'Midnight Mover' off the very same album. They even debut a couple of tracks from new album Blood of the Nations, with 'The Abyss' slipping straight into the set as if it were a classic and sucessfully recreating the heavy metal fury demonstrated in the video for most recent single 'Teutonic Terror' - except we aren't in a junkyard, and the place isn't literally on fire.
However the real star of the show is lead guitarist Wolf Hoffman, his superb six-string skills lighting up the stage as he pulls shapes here, there and everywhere. An hour and three quarters of sublime classic metal later, and the band pull out all the stops in the encore. They roar through a jaw-dropping 'Fast as a Shark' with its proto-thrash keeping everyone banging their heads, and finish the night off in style inviting Andy Sneap, guitarist of Sabbat and producer of the bands new album, onto the stage for a fist-pumping 'Balls to the Wall'. With a new release on its way, and a line-up that sees the band on better form than it has been in a very long time, there is no better time than now to be an Accept fan.