Restless & Live - Blind Rage: Live In Europe 2015

(Nuclear Blast Records)

      When Germanic Heavy Metal legends Accept re-emerged with the Mark Tornillio-led Blood Of The Nations (2010), many found themselves questioning if the group were truly capable of succeeding on a long-term basis without the more-than-considerable presence(s) of diminutive original frontman Udo Dirkschneider. While such 'ideology' may appear short-sighted to the uninitiated, enthusiasts familiar with their brief--albeit oft-maligned-- Rob Armitage and David Reece/Eat The Heat eras were justified in their concerns with the group maintaining their trademark tonality. Fortunately for all parties involved, the group's decision to boldly soldier ahead would be rewarded as they released Stalingrad (2012) and Blind Rage (2015) to near-universal acclaim. Now, having definitively proven themselves worthy of reascending to the dizzying heights of international acclaim, the group has at last unleashed Restless & Live - Blind Rage: Live In Europe 2015, a career-spanning in-concert testament.

      On the brilliant Restless & Live - Blind Rage: Live In Europe 2015 (2017), an expertly assembled two disc, twenty-seven (!) song collection of 'in-concert' recordings (taken form the group's acclaimed 2015 performance at the Bang Your Head! festival), each track, beginning with the thunderous, bile-spewing tirade “Stampede” the sexually-charged “London Leatherboys” and the woefully-underrated gem “Dying Breed”, instantly commands the rapt and undivided attention of even the most jaded and unimaginative of listeners. Wasting little--if any--time recapturing the magic of their pre-Russian Roulette and post-Predator eras, the group flexes their creative muscles early and often via a genre-defining blend of soaring, multi-octave vocals, razor-sharp fretwork and imaginatively punishing rhythms. Deftly dispelling the concerns of even the most overly-cautious of would-be persuists, the group wisely re-captures the notoriously bloodthirsty lyrical and compositional approaches of ago.

      Continuing with the maddeningly infectious, vertigo-inducing “Midnight Mover” the fist-pumping, mosh-inducing anthem “Restless And Wild” and the emotionally-overwrought “Dark Side Of My Heart”, the newly-rejuvenated combination of vocalist Mark Tornillo (ex-T.T. Quick), guitarists Wolf Hoffmann and Uwe Lulis (Giftdwarf, Gravedigger, Rebellion), bassist Peter Baltes (Dokken, Don Dokken, John Norum) and drummer Christopher Williams steamrolls ahead like the well-oiled machine they so obviously have become. Refusing to conform to the tried and true formulas so often employed by the crème de la crème of the genre's elite, the group effectively reminding us all of their rightful place amid the fabled hierarchies of the Heavy Metal genre. Driving home each key focal point while maintaining an emphasis on honing their razor-sharp chops (remember Death Row?), the group mercilessly stomps, twists and turns amid each multi-dimensional audio peregrinations.

      Effortlessly delivering the goods without, believe it or not, 'overly focusing' on any particular release, other standouts, including the relentlessly pummeling “Fast As A Shark”, the Beethoven and Tchaikovsky-propelled “Metal Heart” and the obligatory--yet equally impressive--closer “Balls To The Wall, only further reinforce the group's well-deserved reputation as bona fide creative and, in some international cases, commercial force not to be ignored. Repeatedly subjecting the proverbial average listener (i.e. you, the increasingly faithful reader and listener) to a painstakingly-assembled quintessence of their already well-documented modus operandi, the group ultimately succeeds by pandering to their notoriously rabid constituents without sounding either forced or dated. While far from groundbreaking and certainly not revolutionary, even the most pessimistic of Old School purists will undoubtedly find themselves enthralled with the group's latest overt displays of musical ascendancy.

      So what, exactly, are you waiting for? While one might effectively argue that the success or, for that matter, the lack thereof Restless & Live - Blind Rage: Live In Europe 2015 is ultimately dependent on their ability to faithfully replicate the finest moments of the Dirkschneider era, the majority--if not all--of the decidedly hook-laden wares herein offer a refreshing, previously-unparalleled career retrospective. Arguably the group's most thoroughly satisfying live effort to date (easily surpassing both Staying A Life and Live In Chile), the end results of their more-than-considerable efforts are seemingly guaranteed to appeal to both die-hard completists and clueless newcomers alike. As a result, if you've once again found yourself in search of a user-friendly trip down memory lane that doesn't involve re-embracing a morbidly obese expanse of spandex-clad Velveeta, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane counter irritant for what ails you. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.


Select Discography

Restless & Live - Blind Rage: Live In Europe 2015 (2017)

Blind Rage (2015)

Stalingrad (2012)

Blood Of The Nations (2010)

Predator (1996)

Death Row (1994)

Objection Overruled (1993)

Staying A Life (1990)

Eat The Heat (1989)

Russian Roulette (1986)

Metal Heart (1995)

Balls To The Wall (1983)

Restless And Wild (1982)

Breaker (1981)

I'm A Rebel (1981)

Accept (1979)

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