Replacing the lead singer in a successful rock band can go one of two ways. For Van Halen, losing David Lee Roth and bringing in Sammy Hagar worked out just fine – for a decade, at least. For Accept, the second most famous German heavy metal band after the Scorpions, the departure of frontman Udo Dirkschneider in 1987, and the subsequent acquisition of US vocalist David Reece, proved disastrous.
While Dirkschneider was short in stature, his were big shoes to fill. His bullish persona and belligerent singing were integral to Accept’s classic albums of the 80s: Breaker, Restless And Wild and Balls To The Wall. With Reece in his place, the 1989 album Eat The Heat bombed so badly that the band promptly split up. As guitarist Wolf Hoffmann now concedes: “That album was really bad. David simply didn’t fit in.”
Salvation arrived in 1993. After four albums with his own band U.D.O., Dirkschneider agreed to a reunion with Accept. Times had changed. Grunge was king. But what Accept delivered in the defiantly titled Objection Overruled was pure and unremitting old-school heavy metal, with much blood-and-thunder riffage, and Udo growling and shrieking as only he can.
Hammering the point home was a song called Slaves To Metal. It was not their best album, but with it, a great metal band’s credibility was restored. And although Udo would eventually leave again, Accept did not make the same mistake twice. Their current singer, Mark Tornillo, is a proper bruiser./o:p