Review: U.D.O. – Game Over
AFM Records (October 22nd 2021)
Reviewer: Chris O’Connor
The little man with the big metal heart is back with his seventeenth solo studio album, and from the off, it is a massively quality release! I guess I’m one of the few people who genuinely doesn’t understand why he feels the need to pad out his live shows with Accept tracks, when his own output equals anything he did with his old outfit – though I’m sure lots of people will shout me down for voicing such a heretical opinion.
These days, the U.D.O. band is a generational affair, with Udo’s drummer son Sven powering the rhythm section, where he is joined by bass guitarist Tilen Hudrap. The band’s razor-sharp riffs come courtesy of guitarists Andrey Smirnov and Fabian Dee Dammers, who prove to be as lethal a pairing as you could ever hope for. The band is firing on all cylinders from beginning to end, creating an album that is both vintage and timeless in sound and feel.
The man himself is in ferocious form, that whisky gravel voice thankfully unchanged after all these decades – few singers can match his visceral roar, he really is a genuine legend. Quality control has always been at the front and centre of the U.D.O. work ethos, and throughout the sixteen tracks offered here, at no point does the album dip into ‘filler’ territory.
There are points where the band steps into almost AC/DC territory – most notably ‘Kids And Guns’, where the verses most definitely could come off any ‘DC album (which is not a criticism by the way), but for the most part, the band stays true to the core sound that Udo has always made his own – ‘Metal Never Dies’ is an absolute Udo classic in its own right, a pure heart anthemic ode to the music we all love.
There are moments where the album does genuinely visit ‘unfamiliar’ territory, the delicate piano led ‘I Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye’ is most definitely unexpected, but is massively effective nonetheless. The stomping ‘Unbroken’ is a bona fide Heavy Metal classic, which proudly stands amongst any of Udo’s finest songs too date. I’ve said this already I know, but the guitar team of Andrey Smirnov and Fabian Dee Dammers has proven to be an inspired choice, they both play with real passion and flair throughout.
One of the finest cuts on the album is the wonderfully melodic ‘Midnight Stranger’, a mid-paced powerhouse that stamps its mark indelibly on your subconscious, its an absolute gem of a song. ‘Game Over’ is an album with its roots in the main man’s past, its heart in the present, yet with a weathered eye on the future. If you love traditional Heavy Metal performed with genuine unashamed passion – then this powerhouse of an album must be an essential purchase for you. I commend this to you completely and utterly! Buy or Die!