On March 16, 1981, "Accept" released their third album "Breaker".
This is the album where the sound of "Accept" began to crystallize. The album that defined their DNA. The first album in an incredible streak of five masterpieces to be released during the band's heyday, including "Restless and Wild", "Balls to the Wall", "Metal Heart" and "Russian Roulette".
The band's roots go back to 1968 when "Band X" was formed in "Solingen", Germany. After many lineup changes, the band changed its name to "Accept" in 1976, then it already included Wolf Hoffmann on guitar, Udo Dirkschneider on vocals, Peter Baltes on bass, drummer Frank Friedrich and guitarist Gerhard Wahl, who was replaced before the release of their debut album by Jörg Fischer.
The band played in clubs and small festivals and slowly began to build its fan base.
The band's first opportunity came when they received an invitation to play at one of the first rock and roll festivals in Germany, "Pop am Rhein". This show would change the band's future, as they were soon offered a recording contract, and by January 1979 they had already released their debut album called "Accept". This album was not a successful one, but it opened the door to the big world for the band and allowed them to go on a tour outside Germany for the first time, performing in neighboring countries like France and Belgium.
At the end of 1979, the band returned to the studio with the new drummer Stefan Kaufmann, to record their next album - "I'm A Rebel", which was released in June 1980. This album had a more commercial sound than the debut album. It introduces us to a band that did not yet have a specific identity and was influenced by external factors who saw before their eyes one thing - sales. As part of an attempt to succeed, the band chose to name the album "I'm A Rebel" - after a rare song from "AC/DC" that was not released on any of the band's albums, which "Accept" chose to make a cover version of. But even the attempt to break out with an album more commercialized than its predecessor, was unsuccessful and the band had to stop and "recalculate".
In retrospect, the failure of "I'm A Rebel" was the best thing that could have happened to "Accept". It forced the band members to make a significant decision that drastically affected their careers. Following the failure, the band members decided that this time they would do it in their own way. Be free to make the music they like, with the sound and style that appeals to them, and not with what the record company or management dictates to them.
They entered the Delta Studios in Wilste, Germany in December 1980, with original and new ideas. Over the course of two months, they concocted, wrote, and recorded the album that would redefine them. "Breaker" is without a doubt a classic album in the band's repertoire and was the first to pave the way for it toward great success and international recognition. It was "Accept"'s groundbreaking album both in terms of finding their sound and in terms of style, which would march them forward and buy them world fame in the Heavy Metal genre. This is the album that attracted enough attention to allow the band to serve as the opening act for "Judas Priest", as part of their world tour in 1981. This will be the first time for "Accept" to play outside of Europe.
Starting with the opening riff of "Starlight", it is clear that this album is fundamentally different and much more "metallic" than its predecessor. Wolf Hoffmann's complex solos, in which the buds of the neoclassical style are beginning to be heard, finally confirm to us that the band has completed the transformation that will make it one of the most influential Metal bands of the 1980s.
The second track and the theme song "Breaker" is the shortest on the album, and it perfectly defines the flirtation of "Accept" with the genre of Speed Metal, which will be more dominant already on the next album "Restless and Wild".
"Run If You Can" showcases the incredible ability of "Accept" to combine rough Heavy Metal throughout the verses, with a melodic and catchy chorus. This ability will only improve to perfection in the band's next albums. The song also features an impressive solo battle between Hoffman and Fisher.
"Can't Stand the Night" is the longest on the album. A classic Metal ballad wrapped in Dirkschneider's rough and powerful voice. This track is a perfect contrast to the second ballad "Breaking Up Again", located in exactly the same place on the other side of the vinyl, sung by bassist Peter Baltes endowed with a soft and gentle voice.
The first side of the vinyl ends with the controversial title song "Son of a Bitch". An angry, vulgar, and blatant protest song directed against the band's record company. This is the only song whose lyrics were not printed on the inside cover of the album, to avoid censorship. It is interesting to note that in honor of the UK release the band recorded an alternate version of the song called "Born to Be Whipped" and included more "refined" lyrics.
The other side of the vinyl opens up with the audience roars that form an intro to the powerful and energetic rock and roll of "Burning".
The next track "Feelings" just sounds like an outtake from "Balls to the Wall" and is a further proof that the band has formed the DNA that will define it already from this album.
"Midnight Highway" is one of the catchiest on the album. An impressive purposeful display of the band's incredible writing ability, which will become its hallmark in subsequent albums.
The album ends up with a bang with "Down and Out", which increases the energy after the quiet ballad "Breaking Up Again".
"Breaker" is not one of the band's perfect albums, but it has enormous historical significance in the band's development process. The conscious change that the band went through during the recording of this album and the choice to go with their hearts and update the sound and musical style, are what will march "Accept" to the masterpieces that will come along the way.
For Listening: Spotify.