Artist:  U.D.O.
   Title: Steelhammer
   Label: AFM Records
 

U.D.O. have released an album of pure Heavy Metal the way it used to be back in the old days, when Heavy Metal was Heavy Metal and none of these sub genres which exist and blight the scene these days.  Steelhammer is the bands 14th album and possibly one of their strongest to date.  Itís hard to believe that teutonic terror Udo Dirkschneider is still sounding as good as he did way back in the Eighties with Accept and shows no signs of slowing up at all!

The band has had lineup changes after guitarist Stefan Kaufmann stepped down from the metal machine that is U.D.O. for health reasons.  Kaufmann had of course also been Dirkschneiderís writing partner and the bandís producer.  Also fellow guitarist Igor Gianola, who had been in the band for over ten years left the band as well.  Dirkschneider recruited former Amberian Dawn guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen and Russian multi-talented instrumentalist Andrey Smirnov (Everlost) into their ranks.  So what you have here is a revamped U.D.O. and fourteen tracks of pure Molten Metal to batter your senses.  

 

The title track opens proceedings and delivers a blow of metal delirium and has the customary U.D.O. chorus to have the masses singing along and will soon become a fan favorite without a doubt.  'Cry of a Nation' is cleverly worked and classic sounding U.D.O., itís a chunkier, slower track and leads in to the brilliant 'Metal Machine', which is a timeless track, fueled with meaty guitars and drums to shake the metal filled arenas worldwide.  Four tracks in, we get the stunning 'Basta Ya'  sung in Spanish, which means 'Enough is Enough' and is a stand up call to arms track against terrorism and features War Cryís Victor Garcia Gonzalez.  This is one of my personal favorites on 'Steelhammer', itís really excellent.

 

'Heavy Rain' is a bit different and unexpected, you get a piano opening the track and is a ballad that fully shows Udo Dirkschneider's vocal versatility and is a surprise and actually very enjoyable and mellow. Then we get back into the groove as 'Devil Bite' nibbles and tears into your brain, and you even have some electronic keyboards interspersed to remind you of White Zombie, which is quite unexpected on an U.D.O. opus.  As with the previous track, itís different and inventive. 

 

'Death Ride' takes you on a journey of exhilarating Metal, where the band kick like an angry mule and kicks and tears down the walls.  'King of Mean' destroys all thatís in its way, with Francesco Jovinoís  powerhouse drumming this and 'Timekeeper' continue the Metal meltdown, as both new guitarists deliver licks of insanity and deep throbbing bass lines are the order of the day from Fitty Weinhold.  Dirkschneiders vocals are exceptional (as you would expect) throughout the album, especially on 'Cross My Way', a song about a festering, poisoned relationship and another standout track.

 

'Take My Medicine' and 'Stay True' continues to hammer away and deliver the Metal with molten riffs and neck snapping intensity.  Penultimate track 'When Love Becomes a Lie' is a slower ballad number and delivers and ticks all the boxes, as does the final song 'Book of Faith', an enthralling song to finish an excellent album.  I am sure this album will be snapped up and enjoyed by the worldís Metal-heads old and new.  Also check out the cloud cast on The Mayfair Mall's Metal Meltdown show, as we also have an interview with the Metal Legend Udo Dirkschneider!

Review by: Seb Di Gatto

 Tracklisting:

1. Steelhammer
2. Cry of a Nation
3. Metal Machine
4. Basta Ya
5. Heavy Rain
6. Devils 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
 

                  

 

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