With a career spanning almost 40 years, heavy metal legend Udo Dirkschneider’s ongoing tenacity is nothing short of impressive. Having dipped his hand into three main bands – Accept, U.D.O and latest creation Dirkschneider - he’s also kept busy with many other side projects and cameos, such as frequent appearances with Doro and Lordi at Wacken Open Air. Now, with his latest release Steelfactory, he is not showing any sign of slowing down just yet, and the songs are as fiery as ever.
One of the prominent features of this record lies in its choruses, which carry a vibe similar to ‘80s compatriots Iron Maiden – bold, anthemic and instantly recognisable. “Keeper of My Soul” is a potent example, showcasing Udo’s shift from sultry singing in the verse to a hard-hitting vocal line for the chorus. “Raise the Game” and “Blood on Fire” are further strong tracks in this vein, with thumping percussion punctuating Udo’s spoken word lyrics that roar into energetic choruses. While the songwriting itself is exceptionally strong, part of this potency may also be due to Jacob Hansen’s mojo as a producer. The production on this record is spectacular; Udo’s distinctive voice works in harmony with the instrumentation, without overpowering them. Hansen’s knack of making every instrument (vocals included) crisp and compelling results in these choruses sounding that much catchier and more inviting for sing-alongs.
Check out the song “One Heart One Soul” here.
I am certain you are getting the idea - Steelfactory is an absolute firecracker, with Udo’s voice going through all manner of levels, from docile to snarling to screams. The bass and drums from Fitty Wienhold and Sven Dirkschneider respectively are often going a mile a minute – especially in the phenomenal seventh track “Rising High” - whilst the guitar by Andrey Smirnov weaves intricate melodies and hooky riffs above the organised chaos of the rhythm section.
However, U.D.O. do not rely solely on heavy metal to power them. “In the Heat of the Night”, while a blistering track which catches attention from first listen and holds up to multiple plays, is also atmospheric, haunting, intoxicating and addictive – even down to the subtle Latino guitar in the background. Not every experimentation works to their advantage, however. The second track “Make the Move” unfortunately offers a slight dip in quality as the guitars deviate from the classic straight cut U.D.O. sound and heads into a slightly offbeat Annihilator vibe – à la “Alison Hell” in its hard rock mood. Not a bad deviation at all, however, it seems at odds with the rest of the record.
Steelfactory is most definitely for existing Udo fans, and even fans of his old band Accept – whose recent Rise of Chaos album was a blinding record – but also as a standalone heavy metal album, it should appeal to many fans of the genre. The whole album is a thrill ride almost from start to finish, clean cut and well-oiled – just like a steel factory should be – with an appropriate amount of fire and grit to keep it rolling.
“Make The Move” and watch this lyric video already.
Steelfactory Track Listing:
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
12. Rose in the Desert
13. The Way
Run Time: 58:05 Release Date: August 31, 2018 Record Label: AFM Records