U.D.O. - Steelfactory

U.D.O. - Steelfactory

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(CD, AFM Records, 2018)

Seeing Udo doing two tours playing two different sets full of ACCEPT classics for this long and in that high level, was amazing to witness, to say the least. Instead of sounding and looking like a retiree, Udo and his lineup attacked all those classics like it was the '80s and I don’t think there is a single Metal soul disagreeing with me, especially these days, with all these ex-recording bands touring with the same setlist for more years than I care to count, having only our money in their crosshair. You see, there are two ways a band can follow once it has hit more than two decades of presence and this (of course) depends on how popular they are in the young(er) demographic: a) keep writing new music and supporting it (rare option), and b) keep cashing on the classics living on and from the past. Udo proudly belongs to the first category, and keeps writing great tunes and, in fact, the ACCEPT tour had also the purpose of closing that chapter once and for all. And to make this case even stronger, “Steelfactory” will soon hit the market, filled with the classic Metal we have learned to love with Udo’s vocals on.

Did I just used the word ‘classic’ talking about a new album? Hell yeah I did, and I don’t need any other evidence other than the album opener “Tongue Reaper”. The chanting-along guitar riff, the hard-hitting rhythm with Udo’s teenager­ sounding scream will get your blood boiling at no time. Then, comes the trademark the band is doing the backing-vocals chorus to tick the last remaining boxes of the classic Metal checklist. I think it is fair to say that spending all this time playing the ACCEPT songs recalibrated this band’s music-writing bearing, and this album is filled with pure face-melting German-born-and-raised '80s Metal. You cannot escape thinking of “Living For Tonite” with the guitar groove of “Make The Move” and at the same time get goosebumps with Udo’s chewing rocks vocals with the icing on the cake being Andrey Smirnov’s riff action. I think the best way to describe this is mixing the old with tapping into the energy the band gathered while on the road. Speaking of guitar groove, “The Heat Of The Night” is a setlist-favorite candidate when things need to slow down a bit, shining through with the massive bass-driven rhythm section and (yet-again) chanting-along melodies. This one took me all the way back to the “Animal House” days, topped off with some guitar-virtuosity keeping one foot in the nowadays’ sound.

I may have been hasty to choose setlist candidates because “Steelfactory” has lots of concert-anthems and this is where the song-writing was focused on; creating songs that will work great from the stage and get everyone involved. I mean, can you resist the Classical music reference (you’ll instantly know what I am talking about) on “Blood On Fire”, the fast as a shark (reference intended) double-bass galore “Rising High” or the bass-driven and full-of-attitude “A Bite Of Evil”? Hell no, and to make the deal even sweater, I will throw on the table the fast “Eraser” and the darker “Rose In The Desert” which happens to be the perfect representation of how great Udo (also) sounds at a low(er) register and a great example of the trademark ballad-type songs a handful of German Metal bands can write.

Another impressive aspect of “Steelfactory” is the total absence of fillers. Really, there is not a single song I would prefer to skip, and I hope that the upcoming U.D.O. setlists will use a lot of material from this album. Is Udo getting better and better like wine does with age? Hmm, I am not sure, because the way this band looks (onstage) and sounds, has nothing to do with being / getting old... One more thing; a steel factory manufactures things out of steel and this album is doing exactly this...

"...we are hungry and angry, we are hungry for you..."

9/10


Links:

www.Udo-Online.De
www.MySpace.Com/UdoOnline
www.FaceBook.Com/UdoOnline
www.Twitter.Com/UdoOnline


Tracklist:

01. Tongue Reaper
02. Make The Move
03. Keeper Of My Soul
04. In The Heat Of The Night
05. Raise The Game
06. Blood On Fire
07. Rising High
08. Hungry And Angry
09. One Heart One Soul
10. A Bite Of Evil
11. Eraser
12. Rose In The Desert
13. The Way


Lineup:

Udo Dirkschneider - Vocals
Fitty Wienhold - Bass
Andrey Smirnov - Guitar
Sven Dirkschneider - Drums