REVIEW: U.D.O. – “Steelfactory”
U.D.O. is back with their sixteenth studio album, ‘Steelfactory’, which will be set for release on August 31, 2018.
Udo Dirkschneider has been touring the world for the past two years under the name Dirkschneider, where he has been touring his Accept material for the final time. What was meant to be just a few shows in the beginning ended up being a full-blown world tour, with thousands of fans worldwide seeing Dirkschneider present his Accept catalogue live for the final time.
With that tour nearing its end, it seems like the right time for some new material from U.D.O.; a good way to close that chapter and move forward with the bands illustrious 31-year career. With their new album ‘Steelfactory’ coming out at the end of August, it’s clear where the band have received some of their inspiration.
With AFM confirming that ‘Steelfactory’ is clearly influenced by the band’s time touring as Dirkschnieder, it’s a good indicator of what we can expect to hear – a no-fuss heavy metal album with big riffs, big drums, banging bass lines and big sing-along moments.
“Tongue Reaper” is the first song on the album and sets a frenetic pace. If you’ve read any of my reviews in the past, you will know I’m sucker for a classic metal album, and the 30-second introduction of “Tongue Reaper” is a great start. I’m also a huge fan of Dirkschneider’s raspy, grated vocal style and when he commences proceedings on this track, it brings a big smile to my face.
Track two is “Make the Move”, and the first thing I notice is the punchy bass line courtesy Fitty Wienhold. Musically, “Make the Move” is solid track. It’s got a great riff, fist-pumping drums; and that bass is a ripper. The lyrics are a little bit on the cheesy side, but that is to be expected on an U.D.O. album somewhere, right?
Tracks three and five are where things get a little bit interesting. “Keeper of my Soul” has a sitar or mandolin playing the main riff and has a dark, slower cadence. Dirkschneider’s vocals are on point and I really like how the whole song has come together.
On track five, “Raise the Game”, the main melody has a distinct sound to it – as if it’s inspired by middle eastern music. Again, we have a darker, powerful riff keeping the track together. Dirkschneider growls “no more fear/no more tears” before launching into the chorus, which is one fists in the air, headbanging experience before we hear that interesting melody again to close out the chorus.
“Rising High” is a fast-paced, soaring, fun song on the album. It’s full of classic heavy metal clichés and would be a solid heavy metal bingo candidate. Complete with fast drums, an anthemic chorus, thundering bass and chugging guitars, it ticks all the boxes of the prescribed U.D.O. formula.
Another fun track on the album is “A Bite of Evil.” Wait. Is this… a song about werewolves? With lyrics like “coming out at midnight…by sunrise I’ll be gone” and “now my fangs are growing/my fur is turning black” I have a feeling we have a scary story for heavy metal kids here! Musically, this song is really well put together, but I’m not sure if I can get behind Dirkschneider’s retelling of Teen Wolf in song just yet!
‘Steelfactory’ has thirteen tracks on the album and comes in at just shy of an hour. It’s a consistent album, following the precise formula that U.D.O. developed and replicated throughout their career. As an Accept fan, I appreciate the influence and hat-tip to Dirkschneider’s past with this album. If you’re looking for a no-frills, no BS album to rock out to, ‘Steelfactory’ has you covered.