U.D.O.: Decadent review

Former Accept vocalist Udo Dirkschneider got his start in a local band called Band X with legendary producer Michael Wagener in 1968, eventually changing their name and launching Accept in 1976, releasing their eponymous debut in 1979. With over 40 years in the business Dirkschneider is set to drop his 15th solo studio album on AFM Records entitled Decadent. The album deals with the decadent behavior of rich upper class so brilliantly depicted by the rich repugnant fat cat on the albums cover. Remember Warrant’s Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich? The album comes hot on the heels of his 2013 album Steelhammer and it’s live counterpart Steelhammer Live In Moscow in 2014. It was recorded and produced by Udo and bassist Fitty Wienhold, mixed by longtime collaborator simply known as Mattes, then shipped off to Jacob Hansen of Volbeat famed to be mastered. The end product Decadent should not only reaffirm Dirkschneider as a constant forced to be reckoned with, but once and for all cement his place alongside the other metal giants of his genre. His graveled rasp on opener “Speeder” and “Meaning of Life” is as sharp now as it was in his prime and is without a doubt one of the most distinct and recognizable voices in metal today. Lead single and title track “Decadent” is accompanied by a very disturbing graphic video that features real news footage. It and “Rebels of the Night” are driven by the chugging piledriver riffs of guitarists Andrey Smirnov and Kasperi Heikkinen. At the same time, “House of Fake” and “Under Your Skin” are deafening slabs of Decadent Power Metal, while “Secrets in Paradise” is a stunning power ballad that recalls “Winter Dreams” from the band’s monster Balls To The Wall album. While “Mystery” and “Untouchable” follow the road tested formula of his previous solo endeavors, “Pain” and “Breathless” pay homage to the classic unwavering sound of his Metal Heart era days in Accept. The album concludes with “Words in Flames,” a nearly 8 minute opus that closes the album out in epic metal fashion. Here’s the bottom line. If you like Accept or Udo’s body of solo work then Decadent is essential listening. If you don’t, you need to get your fucking head examined. Rating: 8/10 -Eric Hunker