Release Date: May 31, 2011
I never quite understood why Udo put the periods in the band name, unless it stands for United Domination Organization or something. But regardless, with every album Udo and U.D.O. release I’m just glad they’re still around. This month U.D.O. release their 13th studio album, Rev-Raptor. This is also the first since his former band Accept released their critically successful 2010 release Blood Of Nations.
While Rev-Raptor is a very solid brick in the wall that is Dirkschneider’s amazing career, it won’t be remembered as his pinnacle work. Still, it’s fucking Udo! You always know what to expect on an U.D.O. album, chunky guitar riffs, thundering drums, ample shredding, and Dirkschneider’s trademark metal voice. Rev-Raptor is no exception.
The album kicks right into full throttle classic metal riffage on the title track. And while I’m not exactly sure what a “Rev-Raptor” is, the song is pure U.D.O., replete which a shout along chorus, and headbanging aggression.
Dirkschneider and company have always been the kings of testosterone injected, macho metal, and that continues with the second track, “Leatherhead”. This has another trademark anthemic chorus as well.
“Renegade” sounds like Judas Priest (circa Defenders of the Faith or Turbo) with Udo on vocals, and if I didn’t know better I’d be checking my 80’s Priest records to see if it was a cover. That’s a compliment, not a slight. One of the album’s high points.
After this trio of hammer down rockers I’m pretty psyched, but sadly the feeling doesn’t last. Next up is the quasi-ballad, “I Give As Good As I Get”, which gets a bit lost in campy lyrics. And really, Udo is just not ballad kind of guy. That’s not what his voice is for. This track should have been cut. Yet the band has already cut a video for it. To each his/her own.
“Dr. Death” is a nice grinder with some excellent guitar work, but it’s filler, as is “Rock’N’Roll Soldiers.” Fine to listen to, but easily dismissed.
So were three up, three down, and the second half of the album follows a similar trend, with some high octane rockers and groovers, and a few that suffer a lack of commitment and sonic oomph.
The album ends on another weak note with another power ballad, “The Days Of Hope And Glory”. I’ll say it again, Udo’s voice is excellent for loud raucous traditional metal, but when the music slows down to emotive balladry, Udo simply sounds like a strangled cat. Fortunately the song gets into more of an uptempo renaissance choral sing-along type ending which saves it from complete disaster.
Guitarists Stefan Kaufmann and Igor Gianolo really shine throughout the entire album, and raise even the lesser numbers to decent air-guitaring glory. Fitty Wienhold’s bass is full of beef and groove, and skin crusher Francesco Jovino hits like he’s out to kill someone. Rev-Raptor as a whole is very ballsy, and full of all that we love about the Teutonic one’s body of work. The band has nothing to be ashamed of here. U.D.O.‘s created another slab of the strong traditional metal that we all love, and I for one hope he and the band have a few more in them.