Balls To The Wall


Portrait Records, 1984

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Heavy metal... testosterone... loud, crunching guitars... screams like someone got their nuts trapped in the car door. I love it - I discovered it when I was in high school, and I've always, somewhere in my heart, carried a torch for this kind of music.

So why am I not impressed with Balls To The Wall from German metallers Accept? Quite possibly because there's not enough fancy guitar work and too much screaming from lead throat Udo Dirkschneider.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Granted, this album turned out to be the one that broke Accept in America, though they'd never reach the level of superstardom that their fellow German band Scorpions did in their heyday. Cuts like "London Leatherboys" and the title track were the kinds of songs that you'd put on just as your dad came home from work just to piss him off. And, there's no denying that when Accept - Dirkschneider, guitarists Wolf Hoffmann and Hermann Frank, bassist Peter Baltes and drummer Stefan Kaufmann - were firing on all cylinders, their music was great.

But two or three good songs (I'd count "Turn Me On" among the hidden classics) just don't make an album stand out as being exceptional, and much of Balls To The Wall falls short due to the songwriting. Tracks like "Losers And Winners" are poor attempts to capture some of the glory of other tracks on the album, while others like "Fight It Back" and "Love Child" just fall short of the goal.

Two other problems plague this album. First, Hoffmann is an exceptional guitarist, but this album doesn't seem to give him the chance to show the six-string flair that he has. Second, while Dirkschneider is a powerful screamer, often his vocals are rendered unintelligible in the cacophany. (I'll concede that English is not his native tongue, and he seems to handle it well - especially on the spoken bridge on "Balls To The Wall".)

This isn't to say that Balls To The Wall is a bad album; I've listened to it on and off for the better part of two months here in the Pierce Memorial Archives trying to pass a fair judgment on it. But in the end, I know deep in my heart that Accept was capable of much better... and the bulk of Balls To The Wall isn't an example of this.

Rating: C+

User Rating: B+


In places, Accept sounds like a worthy successor to AC/DC or Motorhead in the hard rock pantheon. The guys can write a punchy, sweaty rocker when they want to! Sadly, it's way too inconsistent. Balls to the Wall often careens into vacuous (and utterly forgettable) hair metal territory. I suppose that's a sin every commercial metal act fell prey to in the 80s, but Accept is more prone to it than others. I'd give it a B-.

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