The metal life has been crazed and hectic for German metal stalwarts, Accept over the last two years. After coming off their stellar Blind Rage album, the band dropped the monster live assault, Restless and Live in 2017. It marked the quintet’s first live offering with vocalist Mark Tornillo. The same summer, Accept unleashed it’s fourth studio effort with Tornillo, The Rise of Chaos. In the midst of this, founder and guitarist, Wolf Hoffman, also released his second solo album, Headbangers Symphony, which showcases the fretmaster performing classic music pieces in a more metal fashion. This winter, Accept dropped a second live effort, Symphonic Terror – Live at Wacken 2017. The album celebrates the band’s three-part performance at Wacken, where the group played a handful of songs as a quintet before being joined by an orchestra for Wolf to perform several of his solo tracks. They then closed it all out with Accept and the orchestra playing several classic tracks from the group’s iconic catalog.
Metal Nation caught up with Hoffman, to chat about the new live album and what it means to him. We also spoke about The Rise of Chaos, and what’s next for Accept. The conversation took place just days before his longtime songwriting partner and band bassist, Peter Baltes announced his departure from the band after 40 years.
The last time we spoke, you said you have always wanted to do something like this, combine your classical solo work with Accept’s material on stage. What was the experience like, finally bringing this to life?
“It was just a magic night. It was unforgettable. It’s going to be one of those days, on my death bed, I’m still going to remember it. Everything came together so wonderfully. I never thought I’d see the day where we’d actually be together with a symphony on stage, but there it was, and it worked.”
You had to be like a kid in the proverbial candy store. This really blends your passion for classical music, plus the music you’ve been performing for over four decades.
“I was. You know what’s weird? These songs, even though I’ve been playing them for 30, 40 years; some of them sound like they were written for orchestration. Of course they weren’t. There’s a lot of elements in our regular guitar playing and writing style that sounds like it was written for an orchestra, weirdly enough.”
I think fans listening to it get a new perspective and appreciation for Accept’s music.
“Yeah. It almost sounds like it’s in another dimension. I don’t want to make too much out of it, but it definitely sounds like it was elevated to another level.”
There was an incredible flow to the evening’s set as you moved through the three sections. Was there a lot of thought put into the song sequencing for the show?
“There was. We started thinking about everything and preparing everything about a year prior to the show. It all started with the idea to just perform some songs from Headbanger’s Symphony, live for the very first time. It was built on that. Then somebody said: ‘Well, the new album is coming out around that time, so why don’t you play some Accept songs, and then if the whole Accept band is there and the orchestra is there, why don’t you play some Accept songs together?’ So it’s really, one thing led to another.”
I understand you guys are going to do a full tour with an orchestra next year? Bring this to the world wide masses, so to speak? That should allow you to open up the setlist a bit.
“We are, yes. That’s another crazy endeavor. Now that we’ve seen it once and gotten a taste of it, we want more of it, and I think the fans want more of it. What I think we’re going to do, we’re going to bring a similar setlist, but we’re going to expand the setlist a bit and bring some other surprises as well. But we’re going to do it indoors and in sort of nice symphony halls and city centers and nicer venues. Not your typical rock clubs. So it’s almost going to be like a concert evening with Accept and classical music.”
We are on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the debut Accept album. What are your memories from recording that album?
“I was like 17-years-old. First time in a recording studio. Didn’t have much of a clue about anything, to be honest. We were just young guys from Germany, dreaming about being rock stars one day and touring the world. We were just kids at that point when we made the first album. Actually the reason why we made that first album is because we participated in some sort of Battle of the Bands contest and the prize was a record deal. We didn’t win that prize, but we somehow still got a record deal out of the whole thing (laughs).”
Accept is set to play 70,000 Ton of Metal in January before kicking off its Accept and The Orchestra of Death – Symphonic Terror Tour 2019 next Spring in Germany. This year marks the 10th anniversary of vocalist Mark Tornillo with the band, which has seen a massive renaissance over the last decade on the heels of the crushing studio albums Blood of the Nations, Stalingrad, Blind Rage, and The Rise of Chaos. Guitarist Uwe Lulis and drummer Christopher Williams joined the band in 2015. Who will replace the recently departed, Peter Baltes remains to be seen.
You can listen to the full interview with Wolf below as he talks about some of the tracks on The Rise of Chaos, and delves deeper into Symphonic Terror.