By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Monday, March 5, 2018 @ 7:38 AM

Giving As Good As He Gets For The Last Time: The Voice Of Accept Comes In Like A Wrecking Ball And Crushes Mavericks With Some Special Guests, March 1, 2018

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All Photos By Andrew Depedro

It’s extremely rare that a concert that I review on the Loudest Dot Com On The Planet is often met with a spot of unwarranted controversy when all I’m aiming for is to talk music and make my city more appealing for the bands that we both love to visit and play here more often. Alas, even with the best intentions in this case as I tried to get an interview with the voice of the long-running Teutonic terrors ACCEPT with the help of his otherwise helpful manager and PR staff, it just took one person to suddenly decide to go rogue within the group and decide to sabotage the whole interview I’d prepared myself for to give.

And to make matters worse, it would be the sound mixer who was behind the entire power trip, deciding who got to do any interviews at all that day. In fact, he’d been making life difficult for just about every band on the bill that night - hence why I’ve decided to turn up the volume on my end about his behavior which was the only downside to an otherwise spectacular night of metal.

Arriving a half hour early just as soundcheck was taking place, I hung out briefly with a few members of two of the opening bands, who might have been chatting a bit too loudly at the time (though you could barely hear anything during soundcheck anyway). The sound guy got peeved and ordered us all out, including myself who was on the guest list (“There’s a Starbucks across the street. Maybe go there instead while WE’RE working?” was his tactful response). I’d later found out that most of the crew were also being rather disrespectful towards the three local bands, including taking over room by the merch area that had been previously claimed by the local bands; this clearly led to a dispute of sorts, which somehow ended with the headlining band taking the entire stage for their set (including Sven Dirkschneider’s massive 15-piece drumkit which they claimed was too heavy to disassemble and move) and leaving the remaining four bands on the bill to play on the floor. Yes, that also included the amps, speakers and drumkits for all four bands, which took up a fair bit of room on the floor for the audience. It was jokingly referred to as the Intimate & Interactive show afterwards by more than a few of the bands. Meanwhile, ignoring the drama because I had an interview to do, I meet up with the tour manager at the agreed time. The interview, he said, would be delayed by about an hour at most because of soundcheck, which I was fine with. Biding my time, writing down the interview questions I wanted to ask and figuring out how my digital recorder worked, I’d eventually go to the tour bus - parked outside of the Salvation Army of all places - thinking that the interview would be conducted there as I’d seen a whole bunch of people go towards that general direction. Instead, I’d be greeted by everybody’s friend, the angry German sound guy, who simply said “VIP ONLY! NO INTERVIEWS!” as he exited the tour bus, ignoring me altogether. I’d wait for another ten minutes to the amusement of the hordes of sketchy-looking Sally Ann residents clamoring by the tour bus to see if anyone other than German Sound Guy was on board before retreating back inside. I’d try at least two more times returning to the bus to salvage the interview to no avail - the band was at an arranged meet and greet at a metal-themed restaurant known as the Coven a few blocks away. I’m assuming that German Sound Guy knew where the event was at if he’d bothered to make an attempt at being helpful in directing me to the location instead of being a complete cockweasel towards everyone on the tour so far. To him, I say: You suck at human interaction and should stick to making the bands sound good.

Speaking of which....

Undeterred by the fact that they’d be relegated to literally playing to the audience after Twatwaffle Sound Guy denied them their stage, local death dealers DOMINATION opened their fast and furious set with “God Is To Blame” which might as well be dedicated to the sound person. But with a debut full-length album to promote in the form of last year’s Unholy Lands, frontman Zac Murray, guitarists Morgan Walsh and Frank Lahache and rhythm section team comprised of Cameron Bambrick (bass) and Joey Lariviere (drums), the vast open floor lets the band move around more - especially Zac who’s known to jump into the audience to start up a circle pit during the closing number “On Goes The Hunt” anyway. On fire and in hunt mode, DOMINATION once more took over and owned much of the night.


If one was looking at the setlist for Skyrim-influenced local power metallers LYCANTHRO and began wondering if the three-song set was the result of some cut stage time courtesy of Sound Guy still having a bad day, it actually wasn’t. In fact, frontman/guitarist James Delbridge had revealed the story of the band’s new song “Pale Rider”, which would be a 14-minute long opus which LYCANTHRO would be debuting that night. Granted that openers “Fog Of War” and “Mark Of The Wolf” were already kinda lengthy to begin with at close to 5 minutes each (and moreso since James and David Shute usually like to jam out a bit anyway on the song), but there was no mistaking the length of “Pale Rider” - and, yes, despite the average age of all band members being in the very early 20’s, they’re all plenty aware of the GAMMA RAY song of the same name, thanks very much. There was also no mistaking the power of the song as it changed tempo and speed at least three times but still kept its energetic flowing journeyman-like pace. And somehow James still managed to play within the crowd as is common at many LYCANTHRO shows when the band is permitted the use of a stage. Look for ‘em to keep up their game once their latest EP comes out.


The last of the local bands take the stage as INFRARED waste no time in keeping the audience waitin’ for their bright light fright. The local thrash quartet are still on top of their game despite their absence from the scene for about two decades before their comeback, now three years and counting including a solid performance opening for ATROPHY last year. They’re still making up for lost time but doing so at a pace that’s as fast as their Bay Area-inspired thrash metal. Songs such as “Some Kind Of Disease”, “No Peace” and “All In Favor” taken from their 2015 debut harken back to the halcyon days of thrash, and while fame had eluded them due to family time and thus allowing musical abominations such as Lulu to flourish, INFRARED still retain their unbridled energy from all those years away.


Having a sound person with an overdue attitude adjustment may have been something of a nightmare for the bands involved in this otherwise awesome show, but amazingly and appropriately enough, it’s not stopping the guys in ELM STREET from preaching the good word of the truest of the true metal. With 15 years of touring/recording and two full-length albums out including 2016’s Knock ‘Em Out…With A Metal Fist to their name, the Melbourne, Australia-based quartet comprised of Ben Batres (vocals/rhythm guitar), Aaron Adie (lead guitar), Tomislav Perkovic (drums, and who lent his kit to the local bands during their set) and the enormous-sized Nick Ivkovic (bass guitar) have landed on several previous big name tours across Australia and Europe, including ICED EARTH, SEPULTURA, HAMMERFALL - and even the current Mark Tornillo-fronted version of ACCEPT, hard as that is to believe. With one listen to Ben’s growling vocals and Aaron’s powerful stormtrooping riffs on “Face The Reaper”, “Heavy Metal Power”, “Metal Is The Way” (dedicated to Ronnie James Dio) and a rather decent if not initially questionable version of QUIET RIOT’s “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)”, the band definitely show how they’ve earned their patches and respect over the years through roadwork and perseverance. Their first North American tour should definitely gain them new fans on every block and guarantee them success beyond their wildest dreams.


As strange as it is to believe, the high-range voice of Udo Dirkschneider that has dominated many classic metal anthems such as “Balls To The Wall”, “Restless And Wild”, “Metal Heart” and “Princess Of The Dawn” (my new nickname for any of my lady team leads at work) has found its own success more than 30 years since leaving ACCEPT following the release of Russian Roulette. But as strange as it is to (sorry) accept after a lengthy and loud career in metal, Udo’s current global jaunt titled Back To The Roots II will sadly be his last in playing those same metal classics as he’ll be focused on performing his own 30+ year catalogue of solo material (that’s 15 studio albums, folks). Incidentally, how did the actual Udo backing band of Andrey Smirnov (guitar), Bill Hudson (guitar), Fitty Wienhold (bass) and Udo’s own son Sven (drums) come to be, you may ask, since Sound Guy Dick wouldn’t allow me to ask the band members themselves in person? Well, they’ve been backing Udo since 2004 following the release of Thunderball for the most part and the chemistry’s worked so well between the band members that they’ve simply stuck with more or less the same lineup ever since. Did you know that Udo’s son Sven joined the touring lineup in 2015 after Stefan Schwarzmann (ex-ACCEPT, HELLOWEEN, KROKUS) had to leave due to touring commitments with his project LACRIMOSA (whose lineup also boasted Mille Petrozza of KREATOR)? And that Fitty Wienhold is the second longest-standing member of Udo’s touring band having joined in ‘96? And that Bill Hudson has played in several other bands including TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, CIRCLE II CIRCLE, I AM MORBID (with David Vincent) and his first band CELLADOR when he arrived to the US from Brazil?


But enough of my ranting here because it’s Udo’s voice that we all came here to read about.

Opening with “The Beast Inside” from 1994’s Death Row, Udo and his crew played an energized 2-hour set which featured many obvious ACCEPT hits and deeper cuts from the early catalogue. Udo had explained that, for him, these particular songs represented the most raw-sounding material that ACCEPT had ever released before he was replaced by David Reece following the release of Russian Roulette. And he was true to his word on the authenticity and rawness of the songs he helped both write and sing as there wasn’t a hint of anything close to an unnecessarily slowed-down ballad anywhere in the set. The band were firing at 150% and then some as the dual guitar work of Bill Hudson and Andrey Smirnov each traded incendiary riffs on classic ACCEPT numbers such as “Midnight Mover”, “Fast As A Shark” and the catchy damn-does-that-chorus-go-on-forever “London Leatherboys” to name but a few. And there was no mistaking the encapsulating and gritty-sounding voice of Udo himself, whether it was on tame songs such as “Can’t Stand The Night” or his distinctive opening piercing scream on “Fast As A Shark”.

And, not that he needed any help in singing his own hits because he is Udo after all, but Udo is also about the crowd participation too. As his encore would consist of four songs with the catchiest riffs and notable chants, Udo and the band were determined to give the crowd their money’s worth. Starting with “Princess Of The Dawn”, the audience were encouraged to sing along to the guitar riff, thanks to Udo’s conducting and Andrey’s playing. “Metal Heart” was also given the same treatment along with some fancy noodling and soloing by Andrey. After Udo’s blood-curdling scream introduced “Fast As A Shark”, it was Bill Hudson’s turn to lay down some blistering solos, which he did all so effortlessly - and so damn fast! - thanks to his experience with CIRCLE II CIRCLE and CELLADOR. Finally, the night closed with “Balls To The Wall” as both Udo and the Ottawa audience flashed the sign of victory for one last time before he and the band disappeared from the stage in a storm of flying drumsticks and guitar picks tossed into the crowd.

It was hard having to (sorry) accept not getting an interview from the headlining band but they made up for it with a performance worth living for tonight and beyond. So, once more, from the bottom of my metal heart, special thanks to the following:

  • Larry “The News Monkey” Petro for organizing the interview on his end
  • Dustin Hardman from AFM Records for organizing the interview also on his end
  • Tour manager Richard Peach for meeting up with me anyway and apparently for also trying to salvage the interview by getting me a last-minute chat with bassist Fitty in the end, which, despite not happening, both their efforts are to be commended anyway
  • All five bands for their performance
  • Christina and CHORD Productions for bringing this event to town
  • Everyone in town that did attend and making this show one for the ages
  • Team leads Lea, Shauna and Kelly from work for letting me go early to catch this show
  • Former team lead Sumayeh and former Carleton Toastmasters VP of Public Relations Karen Hernandez for letting me give a farewell toast of sort at their recent going-away ceremonies which eventually inspired a sudden decision to attempt interviewing after all
  • Anyone that wasn’t German Sound Guy at this point though he did run a good quality-sounding show that night


  • “The Beast Inside”
  • “Aiming High”
  • “Bulletproof”
  • “Midnight Mover”
  • “Living For Tonite”
  • “Another Second To Be”
  • “Fight It Back”
  • “Can’t Stand The Night”
  • “Amamos La Vida”
  • “London Leatherboys”
  • “Up To The Limit”
  • “Breaker”
  • “Screaming For A Love Bite”
  • “Love Child”
  • “Objection Overruled”
  • “Russian Roulette”
  • “Princess Of The Dawn”
  • “Metal Heart”
  • “Fast As A Shark”
  • “Balls To The Wall”

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