BY: TJ Fowler
Available: July 1st, 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast
To say Wolf Hoffmann has a classically influenced background to his guitar playing is like saying Donald Trump has bad hair. In other words, IT’S PLAINLY OBVIOUS. For anyone who is/was/ or will be a fan of ACCEPT you have heard or will hear the classical influence in Wolf’s playing. In songs like ‘Bound to Fail’, ‘Metal Heart’ and many others you could always hear the classical sound in the guitar leads and hooks but since ACCEPT is a also a heavy metal band, you never got to hear Wolf’s pure classical skills with the guitar 100%.
During ACCEPT’s time off in the late 90’s Wolf did get to explore more of his classical roots with his solo album ‘Classical’ and now again with his newest offering ‘Headbangers Symphony’. The newest album contains 11 tracks of classical material from the old masters like Beethoven and Mozart but with a metal guitar played by Wolf.
Many people have described classical music as the music heavy metal is without the distortion, guitars and well…electricity. Well here we have the fusion of both. We have the classical pieces being played with an orchestra as they were originally written for then also Wolf’s metal infused guitar interpretations added in. So the big question is, ‘How does it all sound?’, ‘Is it a big huge mess of noise?’ or ‘Does the classical sound compliment the metal sound nicely and vice versa?’
Well to my ears I think Wolf has done a magnificent job with arranging the compositions to fit his unique style of playing. For classical lovers they can hear their beloved classics in a bit of a new way and for metal lovers they can hear one of the better known metal guitarists express his influences in a more traditional form and be able to understand better how these influences helped shape some of ACCEPT’s songs when they re-listen to them.
While all the compositions on the album are very engaging and fun to listen to, two tracks that really stood out to me in terms of being moving pieces of work and really hearing the playing talent of Wolf were ‘Symphony No. 40’ and ‘Swan Lake’. While one showcases a faster pace and tone the latter shows a more slow and thoughtful approach to the work and has a very thought provoking melody. Both of which have a special feeling to them that is captured beautifully by Wolf’s guitar playing.
I found ‘Headbangers Symphony’ to be a really nice listening experience and offers an interesting look into the musical head of Wolf Hoffman and showcases the roots of where he draws his musical inspiration from and how he translates that into the metal compositions of ACCEPT. For any fan of ACCEPT I would highly recommend you pick up Wolf Hoffmann’s ‘Headbangers Symphony’ and give it a good listen, then when you hear your favorite ACCEPT songs again you can gain an even greater appreciation of the songs and the effort that goes into writing them.