‘Balls to the Wall’. One of the most iconic riffs in metal. Its author: Accept mainman Wolf Hoffmann, a legendary guitarist within the metal world and lauded by contemporaries and fans alike.
He has always had classical influence within his playing and that aspect is in full flight on his newest solo release (only his second in 20 years!), Headbangers Symphony.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a completely orchestral release – there are PLENTY of guitar riffs, solos and metal drums. Even if you aren’t classically minded, you will surely recognize some of the melodies and musical passages from orchestral pieces in many different places and stages throughout your life. As Wolf is one of the founders of Accept, there is plenty of that strewn about the album too in tracks like ‘Symphony 40’, the album opener Scherzo – which shares a similar riff to Blood Of The Nations‘ ‘Teutonic Terror’, ‘Double Cello Concerto in G Minor’ with its driving double bass passages from drummer extrordinaire Jason Bowld and ‘Pathetique’ and ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ respectively with their high paced groove and beat.
It is not all balls to the wall (pun intended!) – ‘Je Crois Entendre Encore’ has a very big Gary Moore vibe in the phrasing and attack, ‘Adagio’ slinks and slides like a classic blues cut, the power ballad-esque ‘Swan Lake’ is bright and vibrant, ‘Madame Butterfly’ delicate and there’s the triumphant and anthemic ‘Air on the G String’.
All in all, Wolf meshes his guitar bravado, stylings and composational skills with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra resulting in a well balanced mix between the metal and classical worlds without being overbearing on any side. This is an album to rock out to, stick on in the background and have a nice cold beer to or put on at a party.
2. Night on Bald Mountain
3. Je Crois Entendre Encore
4. Double Cello Concerto in G Minor
6. Symphony No. 40
7. Swan Lake
8. Madame Butterfly
11. Air on the G String