Wolf Hoffmann - Headbangers Symphony (Nuclear Blast)

Accept guitarist Wolf Hoffmann brings the awesome with his latest metal-meets-classic masterpiece.
Release Date: 
1 Jul 2016 (All day)
The first neoclassic metal album I really heard was Apocalyptica's "Wagner Reloaded." I mean, I'd heard sound bites here and there, from the odd documentary, and from his Royal Highness Yngwie Malmsteen, but Apocalylptica was the first album where it all changed for me. So when I had the chance to review Wolf Hoffman's new "Headbangers Symphony", I suddenly became excited and wanted to listen right away.
 
Wolf Hoffmann, guitarist for Germany's legendary Accept (and maybe one of the happiest looking guys I've ever seen on stage), has teamed up with a bunch of musicians and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra to bring a new light to some of the best known classical pieces in music's history. This is Hoffmann's second classic/metal hybrid album, with his first, "Classical", coming out almost twenty years ago. 
 
The album starts off with Scherzo, part of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and whether you are a die-hard metal or classical fan, you'll agree that the unforgettable first notes in this piece really set the tone for the rest of the album. Hoffmann's guitar blends seamlessly with the orchestra's work, adding a new dimension to Beethoven's masterpiece.
 
The waves of excitement and suspense in the second track Night on Bald Mountain had me wanting to fist pump my way into work as it blasted through my earbuds.
 
But it's not all fast paced excitement and fist pumping. Hoffmann shows a softer side in tracks like Je Crois Entendre Encore, Adagio, and Madame Butterfly, that are soft, intimate, and touching tracks - tracks that don't compromise the integrity of the original piece, nor do they lose any of the intensity as displayed in the faster tempo pieces. 
 
By far my favourite track on this album is Beethoven's Pathetique, which in my mind, holds the speed, the riffs, and the complexity of a great neoclassic metal track. Within this track I hear where bands like Accept, Sabaton and Blind Guardian pay tribute to the past in their own epic way. What I love about neoclassic metal; the bombastic nature of the symphony behind a distorted, loud, guitar; the drama of a classical piece that takes you on a journey back in time; the hat tip to the influences by many metal masters throughout history. 
 
With so many different genres in our beloved metal community, I know this album won't be for everyone. In my mind however, this album is an investment of love and respect to a time where composers like Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach, were really pushing the sonic boundaries that still influence the lives of people today. Pick up a copy today for your mum's gramophone; you could listen to it with her with a cuppa, or have a headbang along with a shit eating grin on your face.
 
Prost, Wolf Hoffmann! Great job.