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Accept | Balls to the Wall | review | metal | Lollipop


Balls to the Wall (Portrait/Legacy)
by Scott Hefflon

I pretty much learned to play guitar by playing Balls to the Wall and maybe Scorpion's Love at First Sting. Both bands are German, and both built it up in the '70s but really broke commercially in the '80s. Well, the Scorpions trudged along through the entire '70s and Accept started at the tail end, but it's all fuckin' old, so why quibble? Balls to the Wall was released in '83 (the band's fifth effort), and followed hot on the heels of Restless & Wild which, um, I often confuse with this record because I bought both at the same time, taped one on either side of the same cassette, and played it 'til it wore out and I made another just like it. With that kinda wear, it's hard for me to separate "hits" from "songs I listened to a real lot." Much like Judas Priest records of the day, the albums were thought of as albums, and ya just played the whole stupid thing, thinking some songs kinda bit, but others make paper routes bearable, or kept you company on those long, cold nights alone in your room when you were grounded and couldn't watch TV or use the phone and you couldn't wait for school the next day so you could be with your friends and away from your damn parents.

Honestly, these guys are a lot darker than I remember, mostly recalling heavy trudges like "Balls to the Wall" and "London Leather Boys" and "Head over Heels" and grinding sexual throbbers like "Turn Me On" (I always think of Priest's "Eat Me Alive" and stuff like that and how I never stopped to think he was, ya know, singing that about a guy'n'shit) and the fist-bangin' "Fight it Back." Beautifully gloomy, wet city street late night walks like "Winterdreams," well, they probably fit the mood and simply didn't stick in the mind... In later years, this'd be the sound of cold, quiet nights walking back from a 24-hour convenience store because I ran outta butts again, the only sound the rhythmic scuffle of boots on concrete and the creak of a lather jacket pulled tight against the biting cold, but in the early-'80s, it was probably the sad sight of a young, feathered-haired me, staring out across the woods and fields on a bright, moonlit night, wondering if I'd actually freeze to death if I ran away again...


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