ACCEPT: Metal Heart LP. Check audio and video
Metal Heart is a 1985 release by German heavy metal band Accept. Today Metal Heart is often considered by fans as one of the band best records. It contains several of their classic songs such as “”Metal Heart”” and “”Living for Tonite””. The band also makes a detour into jazz territory with the unusual song “”Teach Us to Survive””. Wolf Hoffmann explained the concept behind the album: “”We had read an article that someone was working on an artificial heart and that one day everybody is going to have a computerized heart. It talked, in general terms, about how more and more of humanity gets sucked out of the daily life and more and more replaced by machine. Humans versus machine, was the general vibe of the record.”” Fittingly for the futuristic theme of the album, Metal Heart was the first Accept album to be recorded digitally. Wolf recalls Dieter Dierks as a very demanding producer: “”We would do some pieces several dozen times trying to capture what he had in his mind for a specific section,”” adding: “”Each song we tried different combinations of guitars, mic’ing and even strings!””
The song “”Metal Heart”” is well known for containing the cover of two famous classical themes: Tchaikovsky Slavonic March (in the intro) and Beethoven Fur Elise in the main riff and solo. This song was covered in 1998 by Norwegian Black Metal band Dimmu Borgir. “”I had no idea it would become as popular as it did,”” Wolf remembers of his contribution to the song.
“”Midnight Mover””, about a drug dealer, is one of the more commercial songs on the album and was selected for a memorable music video that anticipates the bullet time filming technique by a full decade. “”Just ahead of our time again!”” jests Wolf.
Check all samples: www.allmusic.com/album/metal-heart-mw0000188897
“”Metal Heart”” – 5:19
“”Midnight Mover”” – 3:05
“”Up to the Limit”” – 3:47
“”Wrong Is Right”” – 3:08
“”Screaming for a Love-Bite”” – 4:06
“”Too High to Get It Right”” – 3:47
“”Dogs on Leads”” – 4:23
“”Teach Us to Survive”” – 3:32
“”Living for Tonite”” – 3:33
“”Bound to Fail”” – 4:58
Udo Dirkschneider: Vocals
Wolf Hoffmann: Guitars, electric Sitar, backing vocals
Jrg Fischer: Guitars, backing vocals
Peter Baltes: Bass Guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Stefan Kaufmann: Drums
With 1985 Metal Heart, German metal institution Accept attempted to add catchier choruses and melodies to their high-octane guitar riffing in a clear ploy to crack the American market. Not that this move in any way upset the balance of their thus-far smooth-running metal machine, which had been gaining momentum with every release since the start of the decade. No, Metal Heart was certainly a step toward accessibility, but a cautious one at that — and, frankly, there was no toning down when it came to the lacerated larynx of gifted lead screamer Udo Dirkschneider. You gotta hand it to Accept, they sure knew how to make an entrance by now, and the apocalyptic title track is about as dramatic as it gets (the operatic “”Bound to Fail”” comes close), with guitarist Wolf Hoffman taking the helm on a long, mid-song solo excursion containing equal nods to Beethoven (very nice) and Edward Van Halen (get real). First single “”Midnight Mover”” is next, and along with the even more melodic “”Screaming for a Love-Bite,”” it places obvious emphasis on hooks and melodies (and proved to be the toughest to stomach for the band more hardcore fans). But despite another strange detour into jazz territory with the bizarre “”Teach Us to Survive,”” Accept still packed amazing power, heaping on their Teutonic background vocals for the ultraheavy “”Dogs on Leads”” and gleefully pile-driving their way through relentless moshers like “”Up to the Limit”” and “”Wrong Is Right.”” The brilliantly over-the-top “”Too High to Get It Right”” finds Dirkschneider screeching like never before, and to cap things off, the band really cooks on “”Living for Tonight”” — arguably the best track all around. A winning set.”
Decades may have passed since the March 4, 1985 debut of Metal Heart, the sixth studio album by the German heavy metal band Accept.
Can you believe Metal Heart was recorded back in ’85?
guitarist Wolf Hoffmann: No, man! It feels like we recorded it just a few years ago. I can’t believe I’m that old!
What do you recall about recording this album?
It was the first time we ever worked with producer Dieter Dirks, and it was our first real “big time” production. You have to remember that in the mid-‘80s, record labels were willing to pay for large, inflated recording budgets, and getting the right producer on board was seen as really important to help expose a band to a broader audience worldwide. Before Metal Heart, with Restless & Wild and Balls to the Wall, we’d pretty much handled everything ourselves and never spent that much time on our records. But for Metal Heart we put in weeks and weeks into writing and rewriting before selecting the songs we wanted to use.
What inspired the Metal Heart concept?
I think the idea came from a magazine article or a book that was read by our manager Gaby Hauke [a.k.a. Deaffy], who is now my wife and wrote a lot of our lyrics during those years. If I recall, it was literally about a mechanical heart, and how one day people would be walking around with these machines inside their chests instead of human organs. And now we kind of have these things! So Gaby came up with that idea and hook, and we sort of wrote the song around it.
“Too High to Get It Right” has some of the highest screeches ever heard from singer Udo Dirkschneider. Did that range come naturally to him?
Oh yeah, Udo just had an insanely high voice – it was amazing!
Were you conscious of how racy Accept’s lyrics often seemed to many Americans? Or was sexuality something you guys simply didn’t think about?
I think we wanted to have a certain shock factor, always, and to talk about subject matter that other bands weren’t talking about, instead of recycling the same old rock ‘n’ roll subjects. Plus, being European I suppose we were a little more open-minded about sex anyhow, and with Gaby writing a lot of those lyrics, I’m sure her female perspective confused some people into thinking we were a gay band – ha ha! And we didn’t care. The last thing we wanted was to have generic lyrics. We wanted to be a serious metal band, sure, but we also wanted to provoke people – make them think, one way or another.
Your guitar work has always been filled with classical music influences, but they seemed especially prevalent on Metal Heart, especially on the title track and “Bound to Fail.”
Yeah, I can’t remember for sure what brought this on, but I’ve always dabbled in classical stuff and maybe it just clicked during the recording of Metal Heart. I’m pretty sure it didn’t come from Dieter, because we already had those elements in the demos we brought into the studio. You see, we had been touring for months and months behind Balls to the Wall, and there was so much energy in the band, we didn’t want to go home to Germany. So we wound up finding a house in Vermont, of all places, and did all of the pre-production there before meeting up with Dieter to record.
Could you ever have imagined that Accept’s music and historic albums like Metal Heart would one day qualify as a classic rock?
Hell, no! I don’t know if we really fit that category, though I’ve heard the term “classic metal” used for us as well. Funny thing is, when we started, the term “heavy metal” wasn’t even really established yet. We just saw ourselves as a hard rock band in the beginning. But over time we obviously helped develop that sound!