By Dr. Abner Mality

It must be kind of tough for Udo Dirkschneider to tirelessly roll out reliable metal albums one after another with no huge breakthrough. Meanwhile, his old band Accept, who replaced him with a little-known American, releases its first record in more than 15 years and it's an instant smash. Admittedly, "Blood of the Nations" was a great record, but as Udo himself has remarked, it should be...they had more than a decade to work on it. In contrast, it hasn't been long at all since U.D.O.'s last record "Dominator". How does "Rev-Raptor" match up?

It's more of the same of what U.D.O. has been dishing out for a long time now, but not quite as fresh and maybe sounding just a little bit tired. It follows in the footsteps of past record "Dominator" and before that, the excellent "Mastercutor", but to these ears. the energy is not quite the same. I like basic meat-and-potatoes German metal a lot but there comes a point when that envelope needs to be pushed a little bit and I don't hear it here. The title track, "Leatherhead", "Underworld", etc are rehashed U.D.O tunes with the same riffs and lyrics. With "Renegade" and "Dr. Death", I sensed a little more speed and excitement. As far as the ubiquitous ballads go, "I Give As Good As I Get" is by the numbers while "Days of Hope and Glory" sounds bigger and more melodic.

There's no real duds here on "Rev-Raptor" and Herr Dirkschneider's long-time fans will enjoy the album, but this one sounds about as mechanical as the cartoony "motor-borg" on the cover.