U.D.O.: Dominator

By Gruesome Greg

When Accept announced they’d be touring next year with TT Quick frontman Mark Tornillo, Udo Dirkschneider responded by saying he’d tour North America with his solo band for the first time in about a decade. No dates have been announced as of yet on either side, but lemme tell ya, I’ll be the first in line—at both shows. The twin guitar attack led by Wolf Hoffman is as much a staple of the Accept sound as the voice of Udo, not to mention the double-bass drumming of Stefan Kaufmann, who’s been playing guitar for U.D.O. for several years now.

Alas, while Accept is good for a one-off reunion tour every five years or so (they last hit the Euro festival circuit in ’05, with Udo at the helm), U.D.O. has released 12 albums in as many years since The Final Chapter came out in Europe as All Areas – Worldwide. Mind you, if you’ve heard one of those albums, you’ve pretty much heard them all.

If you can picture Balls to the Wall or Metal Heart with post-millennial, ProTooled production, you’ll be able to envision what Dominator sounds
like. There are also some sonic similarities to the great Halford comeback album Resurrection, as Dirkschneider sounds a lot like the Metal God at times. Must be the ProTools.

Third track “Black And White” is practically “Balls to the Wall” redux. There are a few subtle changes, yet it still sounds strangely familiar to Accept fans. The chorus is pure ESL cheese, on par with “Fast as a Shark,” “London Leatherboys,” and all the rest. “You’re the one to give me light/You don’t even whet my appetite.” Ooookay…

“Heavy Metal Heaven” has a power-metal gang chorus befitting of a Blind Guardian or Rhapsody song, but it’s a slow, plodding number otherwise. Tis a tune to swing your beer stein to, even if the chorus gets a bit repetitive… “Doom Ride” doesn’t have much to do with doom, but contains one of the most menacing riffs on this record.

Remember the song “Cut Me Out” from Holy, IMO Udo’s best solo album, released 10 years ago? Well, they’ve pretty much recycled that riff on
“Devil’s Rendezvous,” a song too cheesy for even the biggest Udo-lytes like myself. Fortunately, redemption is found in “Speed Demon,” a song that brings to mind the title track from Halford’s Resurrection, with a gang chorus that’s pure Accept. “Whispers in the Dark” is the obligatory “last song on an Accept album” ballad, although this one is heavier than, say, “Winterdreams”…

Unfortunately, while the best moments of Dominator would make a pretty solid EP, this mostly mid-paced album has a hard time holding my attention for 50 minutes. If and when U.D.O. comes to Toronto, I hope they stick to the classics.

(AFM Records)


Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.