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U.D.O – Steelhammer.

UD_S_C_1500x1500Mr Udo Dirkschneider is back! The hard working gravel voiced front man will be releasing the 24th album of his career,surely one of the most prolific writers in metal and his latest solo effort is Steelhammer,released on May 24th 2013 via AFM Records. Many metal fans will know his name from his time fronting legendary German metal band Accept with whom he sang on 10 studio albums until his departure in 1987.

Prior to the recording of Steelhammer there was a major personnel change for U.D.O with the departure of long standing guitarist/producer Stefan Kaufmann so 2 new guitarists were brought in and the album was written by Udo and  bassist Fitty Weinhold. Udo actually released his 1st solo debut album the same year he left Accept and Steelhammer is his 14th even though he rejoined Accept between 1992-96. Steelhammer has 14 tracks with a running time of just over the 60 minute mark which may seem over long at first glance but the quality of the songs here prove that theory wrong.

There are 11 hard rock/metal songs,2 ballads and a bit of a curio which is my favourite track on the album. Steelhammer kicks off in fine style with the title track, it’s main riff similar to Action by the Sweet as Udo’s unmistakable rasp comes in showing he has lost none of his venom. Other standouts are the following track  A Cry Of A Nation,a crunching slow burning number with a tempo akin to China White by the Scorpions. Metal Machine,pardon the pun is a balls to the wall anthem with a chorus that will have you punching the air!

Basta Ya is rampaging power metal with neat guitar flourishes weaving between huge riffs. First ballad of the album is the most poignant; Heavy Rain is a beautiful heartfelt song,it’s Strawberry Fields Forever phrasing is backed by sweeping strings and piano. Devil’s Bite is hard hitting metal with pomp rock keys,great sustain on the riffs with another huge chorus,a sure fire crowd pleaser! Death Ride is  drum driven surging metal with a blazing guitar solo midway  and features Udo’s most powerful vocal on Steelhammer.Never Cross My Way is  the 2nd ballad and is a touch heavier than Heavy Rain with fluid twin lead guitar breaks.

Stay True has a chord structure similar to Steeler by Judas Priest and is another worthy metal anthem on Steelhammer and When Love Becomes A Lie is another ‘lighters in the air’ ballad but the best song is saved till last which is  album closer Book Of Faith that begins with a funk bass intro with an almost spoken word vocal over Johnny Cash style guitars as the  guitars gain more muscle  and the song ends instrumentally joined by synths and strings,a truly stunning way to end the album.

 

U.D.O band line up :-

Udo Dirkschneider – Vocals.

Fitty Weinhold – Bass guitar.

Francesco Jovino – Drums.

Andrey Smirnov – Guitar.

Kasperi Heikkinen – Guitar.

 

Album track listing :-                                                                                                                                    UD_SH_P08

Steelhammer.

A Cry Of A Nation.

Metal Machine.

Basta Ya.

Heavy Rain.

Devil’s Bite.

Death Ride.

King Of Mean.

Timekeeper.

Never Cross My Way.

Take My Medicine.

Stay True.

When Love Becomes A Lie.

Book Of Faith.

 

 

 

 

About Dennis Jarman

Full time downtrodden album/gig reviewer and part time rock God!
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