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This article was originally published in issue #51
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If one thing is for certain, it's that Wolf Hoffmann is a man who knows how to achieve the goals he sets for himself.
German metal pioneers, Accept are back with a brand new album, 'The Rise of Chaos'. To mark the occasion, lead guitarist and co-founder, Wolf Hoffmann took some time out during his recent visit to London to chat exclusively to Jonathan Graham about the new studio release, their Wacken Open Air 2017 performance and more in this issue's cover feature.
If one thing is for certain, it's that Wolf Hoffmann is a man who knows how to achieve the goals he sets for himself. As a teenager, he quickly developed his skills on the guitar and dreamt of establishing a band that would help take him around the world. By his mid-twenties, those dreams would granted (and exceeded) as Accept would become household names in their native Germany and circle the globe multiple times over. Later, during Wolf's break from music he would even become a successful and well-respected photographer. So when he decided in 2009 to reform Accept and planned to make the band even bigger and better than ever before was there ever going to be any doubt?
Accept's beginnings can be traced back to the late 1960s but was officially formed in the mid-1970s by Wolf Hoffmann, former vocalist Udo Dirkschneider and bassist Peter Baltes. Although moderately successful in Germany from the outset, it was during the early to mid-1980s when the band shot to fame thanks to the release of their fifth studio album 'Balls to the Wall' (1983) which earned them critical and commercial success worldwide.
The band split in 1997, and apart from a very short-lived reunion in 2005, Accept lay dormant until reuniting again in 2009 with new frontman, Mark Tornillo. Since then, the band have released their three highest charting albums to date; 'Blood of the Nations' (2010), 'Stalingrad' (2012) and 'Blind Rage' (2014). The latter would mark a first for the band, as they reached the number one spot on the album charts in Germany.
Their latest album, 'The Rise of Chaos', will be released on August 4, 2017, via Nuclear Blast, making it Accept's fourth collaboration with the independent record label as well as respected producer Andy Sneap.
The cover artwork was created by the Hungarian artist Gyula Havancsák and portrays the band's previous stage set-up destroyed. "Like… After a catastrophe", explains Hoffmann.
Right from the opening track, “Die By the Sword” it's business as usual for Wolf and co, with an epic and almost cinematic build up before a thunderous riff is met with pounding drums to set the tone and energy that would continue throughout. That combined with a highly addictive chorus mixed in with some impressive solo guitar work, make it a strong contender for the best track on the record and we're just getting started!
Other stand outs include; “Worlds Colliding” and “What’s Done Is Done” which should please Accept and hard rock fans alike, however, the tunes such as; “Analog Man” and the album's title track are where this record excels. The former, an almost semi-autobiographical story telling the tale of a man with somewhat vintage sensibilities living in a modern hi-tech world. On speaking about the album's title track, Wolf said;
"The rise of chaos is something I have been thinking about often. Wherever we go, there is some hidden as well as some visible destruction and it kind of changes the world we know. What was there today, can be gone tomorrow and it's somehow irritating. It happens on so many levels, and no one knows what comes next.
"Koolaid" is the band's second digital single off of ‘The Rise Of Chaos' and is available now. On discussing the meaning behind the track, Hoffmann stated;
"Koolaid is a well-known flavoured drink, which in the past has been mixed with Cyanide by a cult leader who forced his congregation to drink it: men, women & children. All so everybody could get to heaven. Since then, the phrase ”drinking the Kool-Aid" is referring to a person or group holding an unquestioned belief, argument, or philosophy without critical examination. That common fact, that people believe anything, when sold in the right way, has intrigued me all my life. For me, being critical and alert all the time, is the key to every decision that one makes. That is the main message!"
Hoffmann ensures every Accept album is full of slick riffs and solos that are performed with grandeur and precision and there’s no shortage of that here.
"The Rise Of Chaos" tracklist:
With ten tracks and coming in at just under fifty minutes long, the only downside to this release is that there's not one or two more songs on the album. We can only hope that this means that they have maybe held some back for the next record, however, in the meantime, these new songs are stadium-ready material and just as well, as a special show at the 2017 edition of Wacken Open Air, Germany will coincide with the album's premiere. The Wacken set consists of multiple parts, giving fans a varied look at Accept's creative power:
Part one contains a classic Accept set, packed with new and old hits. While in part two, Wolf Hoffmann will be performing tracks from his solo release, 'Headbangers Symphony' with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra for the very first time. Accept then share the stage with the orchestra during the night's finale with added support from a complex multimedia show.
This unique concert experience takes place on Waken 2017's year's 'Night To Remember'. A celebrated, long-lasting festival tradition that allows for a selection of established bands to perform something unique and special for their fans.
On the performance Wolf stated:
"It's always impressive to see how bands take this evening seriously and how much love the artists and the organising team put into their work to get a varied result. It's a great tradition which underlines and documents the top-notch level of the international rock community like nothing else. We also want to present something that ACCEPT has never done before; we hope we can give something really special to the fans."
Accept will embark on a twenty-eight date European tour in 2018 in support of the new album including a headlining show at London’s Koko on 8th Feb 2018,