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U.D.O.: Steelhammer

German group U.D.O. is a name that brings with it a healthy dose of classic precision heavy metal teeming with addictive riffs, and that is precisely what you will find more of on their latest album Steelhammer.

U.D.O. have been kicking metal arse since back in the 80's after vocalist Udo Dirkschneider left the mighty German metal band Accept and started the group under his name. Guitarist/Producer Stefan Kaufmann also a former Accept member has been a significant part of the U.D.O. crew for quite some time. To the current year of 2013 and Stefan is no longer a part of the U.D.O. line-up along with guitarist Igor Ginnola who also departed the band.

There must have been a wealth of seriously eager applicants apply for this gig and the lucky chosen axe slingers were Andrey Smirnov and Kasperi Heikkinen. A capable duo ensuring U.D.O. can still continue to effectively perform their infectious metal. Given that the guitar is such a key element to their songs you would be expecting to hear some change in U.D.O.'s sound which there are, with a more traditional feel than that modern metal groove of those recent albums like Dominator and Rev-Raptor.

The partly changed line-up has inspired Udo to go back to his past this time around, and while presenting new challenges it has also given the U.D.O. crew the opportunity to make a fresh start. But that was no obstacle for one Udo Dirkschneider as the seasoned professional and his band have recorded an album that their fans will adore.

To the songs of Steelhammer and "Basta Ya" is the real surprise, if U.D.O. were going to do a non English track then you would assume that German would be the obvious alternative. But no that isn't what you find as this cracking lively song is in Spanish which sounds fantastic and is really suited to Udo's snarling vocal style. Title song "Steelhammer" is a classic style hard metal rocker while "A Cry Of A Nation" is slow and mighty, "Metal Machine" is so catchy it's impossible to resist it's metal charms. No drums, bass or guitars on the brief ballad "Heavy Rain" showing a different side of Udo, they soon return to metal mode for the mighty "Devil's Bite" and the thunderous double bass of "Death Ride". With fourteen songs on Steelhammer U.D.O. have put a lot of effort in to ensure the songs keep you hooked and they conclude with "Book Of Faith" a very cool varied track and worthy closer.

The ever dependable U.D.O. is a metal group that still knows how to impress, while Steelhammer has introduced some changes there is no mistaking that this is still very much a metal release of the U.D.O. kind.

Track Listing
1) Steelhammer
2) A Cry Of A Nation
3) Metal Machine
4) Basta Ya
5) Heavy Rain
6) Devil's Bite
7) Death Ride
8) King Of Mean
9) Timekeeper
10) Never Cross My Way
11) Take My Medicine
12) Stay True
13) When Love Becomes A Lie
14) Book Of Faith

Added: October 14th 2013
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3558
Language: english

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U.D.O.: Steelhammer
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-10-14 10:10:41
My Score:

Here is a band that possesses enough metallic charm to create an epic-sounding heavy-metal album steeped in tradition but rich and and robust in melody and appeal. After opening with the Judas Priest-like title track, this revitalized version of U.D.O. veers off in multiple musical directions: There's the rousing Spanish-language anthem "Basta Ya," the sparse piano ballad "Heavy Rain" (on which stubby singer and band namesake Udo Dirkschneider reveals his softer, dare I say intimate, side) and the straight-ahead mid-paced rocker "When Love Becomes A Lie."

This thing glistens like a sharp sword in the sun, thanks to some killer co-production by bassist Fitty Wienhold and Dirkschneider, whose voice still sounds potent if not absolutely lethal at age 61(!).

If you haven't paid much attention to U.D.O. for years even though the band has consistently released albums since 1987 grab this Steelhammer and get ready to bang your head with pride. This might be my contender for "Surprise of the Year."

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