AFM Records, 2015

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Somehow, among my vast collection of cassettes from the years of 1984-1988, U.D.O was missing. I had all their peers lined up on against my tape deck, including Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, and Metallica. I even had tapes of Accept, which is U.D.O frontman Udo Dirkschneider's other band. Though Dirkschneider left Accept in 1987 to form U.D.O, he reformed Accept in the early '90s, which put U.D.O on the back burner for several years. Since 1997, though, U.D.O has churned out an album every couple years, maintaining their status as a German powerhouse in the area of heavy metal. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

On their 15th studio album, U.D.O embraces all the hallmarks of what a heavy metal album should entail. Heavy guitars and thundering percussion? Of course. Shrieking and harsh vocals? Naturally. Ominous atmospheres and the sort of environment that breeds aggressiveness? You better believe it. The only aspect here that doesn't seem very metal, well, that's the cover art. The band opted out of the standard morbid scene that most metal albums portray to help drive home the theme of the album, i.e. the wealthy upper class and their often decadent acts.

As to be expected, much of this is blazing quick, like the opener and aptly titled "Speeder" or the unparalleled guitar acrobatics of the roaring "Under Your Skin." If you've never heard Dirkschneider's voice, it's unusual and does take some time to adapt to, but he's versatile enough to not just rely on his standard impression of a troll barking his way through a falsetto to more standard, gravelly metal ranges.

Like all good metal, there's plenty of catchiness amid the auditory onslaught. "Decadent" starts off with a Slayer-esque marching approach, and "Mystery" is a slower, guitar chugging tune that Dave Mustaine would admire. Some pleasant and more harmonic exceptions come in the form of the acoustic driven "Secrets In Paradise" and some standard rock vocals near the end of "Breathless" that resembles The Hold Steady taking a stab at hard rock.

In a time when so many people are trying to reinvent metal, it's nice to know some bands are sticking with the time-honored tradition of screeching guitars and throat shredding vocals. For those of you with an affinity toward bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden or even Kreator, this is essential.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2015 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of AFM Records, and is used for informational purposes only.