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Restless & Wild (CD)
Accept's creative breakthrough, 1983's Restless and Wild, begins with one of the most unexpected, surprising, and hilarious mock intros ever recorded. Untold thousands no doubt furrowed their brows in confusion at the perky German folk song emanating from their speakers, only to be rudely interrupted by a scratching needle and Udo Dirkschneider's incomparable shriek, as the band launch themselves into the stunning violence of "Fast as a Shark." Not just a thrilling, light-speed juggernaut, the song was probably the last thrash metal prototype waxed in the pre-thrash era (officially inaugurated by Metallica's Kill 'Em All a few months later). Though nowhere near as frenetic, the title track and "Ahead of the Pack" are just as fierce, and despite a sudden stumble with the mediocre "Shake Your Heads" (an overtly cheesy, Judas Priest-style metal anthem, and the album's only stinker), the dramatic "Neon Nights" ends side one on the upswing once again. As for the album's second half, it's pretty much beyond reproach. Introduced by the solid "Get Ready" (another nod to Priest with its "Living After Midnight"-inspired drum intro), it builds from strength to strength with increasingly mature and melodic (though lyrically obscure) tracks such as "Flash Rockin' Man," "Don't Go Stealing My Soul Away," and the colossal "Princess of the Dawn." The latter closes the album as it began, in unexpected fashion, when its extended outro is abruptly interrupted mid-verse. The bottom line here is that this, like its successor Balls to the Wall, is an essential heavy metal album, and any fan worth his salt should own them both. But for the sake of first-time visitors, Restless and Wild is the slightly grittier, less melodic of the two. Whichever you chose, you can only win. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi
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