U.D.O. – “Game Over”

By Colonel Angus

I always considered myself an Udo Dirkschneider fan but when I step back and what I have collected, I’m surprised that I have not really given U.D.O. a fair shake. My last purchase was “Faceless World” and for the life of me I could not tell you why other than I moved onto other bands and music. I would always go see him live whenever he came to town but when it came to CD purchases, I was at least a dozen albums behind. DIRKSCHNEIDER & THE OLD GANG’s “Arising” EP was something that I reviewed earlier this year and it brought back a lot of those old feelings of listening to Udo fronted ACCEPT and banging my head during my carefree youth. After getting back into Udo after that EP, I was able to get a copy of “Game Over” to review. The bar was set high with “Arising” but I shouldn’t have worried, “Game Over” delivers on all fronts. With a roster of 16 tracks, one would expect the quality to dip here and there but while I like some songs more than others, I can’t really say that any of the tune fall into “filler” category.

There are certainly elements of other metal bands within those grooves like the AC/DC-ish “Metal Never Dies” which also reminds me a bit of his former band’s “Balls To The Wall”. “Marching Tanks” has a “Heaven And Hell” vibe at the beginning but then has a little bit of IRON MAIDEN as it progresses. While these little pieces creep into the overall sound, the main meat of the album is what you would expect from U.D.O.. The riffing is solid and the choruses are catchy and anthemic. I could rattle off the tunes that have that trademark U.D.O. sound but I would basically just be listing the all the tracks. The only tune that sticks out like a sore thumb in this whole record is “Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye”. It’s a piano ballad and while Udo really puts in a passionate performance, it is so far removed from the rest of the material. “Game Over” is a hard rockin’ affair with only that small four minute detour. I wouldn’t skip it when playing the whole disk (and I whole heartedly recommend playing “Game Over” in full) but I can safely say that it would not be a track that I go back to very often.

Even though I have been talking about Udo, this is in fact the U.D.O. band release. Andrey Smirnov and Fabian Dee Dammers take care of all the solid riffing and soloing. It is hard to listen to U.D.O. and not be reminded about his former band but these two guitarists come up with a healthy dose of classic riffs that may touch on Udo’s heritage but there are certainly other influences mixed in there to modernize the sound. Tilen Hudrap is as solid as AC/DC’s Cliff Williams but I feel that drummer Sven Dirkschneider (Udo’s son) is the band’s secret weapon. He is able to pull off the galloping groove of “Prophecy”, the Sabbath-ish “Empty Eyes”, and everything in-between. As for the main man himself, he sounds just as good as ever.

“Gave Over” is a great release from U.D.O. and quite honestly, I feel I have been cheating myself out of some great music. I still can’t figure out why I skipped out on a whole bunch of U.D.O. releases but that will be rectified in short order. No matter what decade it is, the world needs U.D.O.’s brand of anthemic, hard hitting metal so don’t let this release slip through your fingers; get it and play it loud. You won’t be sorry!