Hard Reviews 6
by Martin Popoff

Accept - Balls To The Wall
(Portrait/Epic/Legacy)

One of three first metal wave classics lovingly reissued as a set (the others being Europe's The Final Countdown and Quiet Riot's Metal Health; the Britny Fox best of don't quite fit), Balls To The Wall is the obvious world beater of the batch. Originally released in 1984, Accept's fifth album simplified, sharpened and locked onto a select set of mesmerizing headbanging beats. The title track was an anthem for the oppressed and elsewhere, the band showed Priest and Scorpions just who it was that still had the goods. Guitars coagulate, merge, alchemize, howl in tandem and venture bravely alone. 'London Leatherboys', 'Love Child', 'Losers And Winners' the choruses hailed upon high, and all without being too showy or hysterical, which is a criticism aimed at previous, less mature work from the band. Smooth, controlled commercial metal at its creative peak. A classic. Reissue note: contains two live tracks from the band's widely available EP, a handful of unremarkable photos, plus full lyrics and a brief but well-presented Don Kaye liner essay.
Rating 10

My Dying Bride - The Dreadful Hours
(Peaceville)

Man, I can't get past the cruddy, noisy bass-thin production on this thing to really ascertain whether this year's My Dying Bride is much of a creaking, freaking useful piece of Miss Misery. And when I drink deep, I'm finding myself pretty much bored with the whole franchise right now. I don't know if it's overexposure from the couple of best of/rarities packs that just flew by like shadowy bats, or if these songs just aren't up to snuff. Methinks it's both, although when one complains about this classic, dependable band, one must put into perspective the fact that even on a low hum, My Dying Bride's riffs are tragically better than any other type of doom flavours like ash on the tongue. And indeed, drummer Shaun Steeles helps busy up these brown lumps (but he's recorded in the crapper), and valiant is his effort compared to the pointless keyboard washes from sessioner Yasmin Ahmed. Aaron, you're a piece of work and we luv ya, but this seems somehow unfinished and vaguely unnecessary.
Rating 7