Wolf Hoffmann - Headbangers Symphony

Wolf Hoffmann - Headbangers Symphony

(CD/LP, Nuclear Blast, 2016)

This thought may have been popped inside your mind a couple of times and then made you feel a bit awkward about it, but it’s true: classical and Metal music have more in common than any other two music genres. I know very well the feeling rocking hard with a Metal tune and a cold one in hand, and then suddenly having the urge to put something more calming on the turntable and let the music to nicely fill the room with, let’s say Debussy’s “Arabesque No1”. Actually, the reason for this is quite simple and is based on both genres’ structure which finds common grounds in terms of fluid timing and tempo, with only (!) difference laying on the type of time signature (triple or quadruple). It seems that many metalheads around the globe share the same passion about classical music without being afraid of openly showing it, and ACCEPT’s Teutonic axeman Wolf Hoffmann is clearly one of them. You’ve probably already recognized his love-for-Classical from tunes like “Metal Heart” or the most recent “Teutonic Terror” (yes, I’m talking about the opening riff that has its roots on Beethoven’s “9th Symphony”). Fast-forward to 2016, Wolf took some time off the German outfit to complete and release the long awaited “Headbangers Symphony”, the follow-up full-length to 1997’s “Classical” debut.

If you already got that soured, grim-y look on your face and thought you’re gonna get bored listening to “Headbangers Symphony”, think again, because this album is really an exciting release. Wolf chose a brilliant amalgam of bombastic, shredding-along epics and ballad-esque, slower Classical moments and filtered them through his guitar in a truly refreshing result, with the help of a real orchestra, giving you the chance to (re)love this complex and fascinating type of music. From the moment the album opener “Scherzo” kicks in with the recognizable “Teutonic Terror” riff, a glorious gate opens up in front of you and unleashes tons of mastery riffing, making it impossible to hold your head still and just listen. Yeah, I admit I headbanged along this Beethoven excerpt, I fist-pumped during Mussorgsky’s “Night On Bald Mountain” and found it hard not to imagine Wolf shredding non-stop on Vivaldi’s “Double Cello Concerto In G Minor”, thinking at the same time that it would be pretty cool watching a concert with the German axeman serving all these Classical hymns through his Metal looking glass. Mozart’s “Symphony No. 40” is one more adventurous, full-force epic moment that occasionally feels like it’s taken on an upcoming ACCEPT release (!), like it happens also with Beethoven’s “Pathétique”, and I was also pleasantly surprised by Hoffmann’s take on Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” that follows next and sounds like it’s a brand new composition (ok, at least till the moment the known melody kicks in).

In case you’d like to skip the slower moments of “Headbangers Symphony”, let me just warn you “don’t”, because you’ll miss the chance to enjoy to the fullest the Blues-y epicness tracks like the sweet “Je Crois Entendre Encore” hides inside, or the guitar-greatness of “Adagio”, and those are just two examples of what Wolf has baked here. “Madame Butterfly” and “Meditation” are two more glorious soundtrack-type epics, so be ready for more emotional hair-rising ballads where the overdriven guitar simply creates magik. And of course, Hoffmann chose the perfect farewell tune to drop the curtain, Bach’s “Air On The G String”, where the pompous guitar-playing could easily bring tears on your eyes after saying its goodbyes through a gossamer veil of violins.

Like all things in life, good / great music is all about balance; black and white, rhythm and emotion, smooth transition and undisturbed continuity, and most of all, is based on well-designed structure (basis, in Greek). And it seems that the Hoffmann universe (and particularly “Headbangers Symphony”) is ruled by balance which is quite obvious through his entire career. It has both feet on Classical tradition, has lots of Metal-driven moments and thrives through the German’s music IQ. So, if you’re a Metal fanatic and believe you have a fine music taste, grab this album and crank it up during the upcoming summer nights, and let Wolf do the rest by quoting on his own way Nietzsche saying “without music, life would be a mistake”.





01. Scherzo (L. V. Beethoven)
02. Night On Bald Mountain (M. Mussorgsky)
03. Je Crois Entendre Encore (G. Bizet)
04. Double Cello Concerto In G Minor (A. Vivaldi)
05. Adagio (T. Albinoni)
06. Symphony No. 40 (W. A. Mozart )
07. Swan Lake (P. Tchaikovsky)
08. Madame Butterfly (G. Puccini)
09. Pathétique (L. v. Beethoven)
10. Meditation (J. Massenet)
11. Air On The G String (J. S. Bach)


Wolf Hoffmann - Guitar