By Gruesome Greg
While it’s not the coinciding North American tour that was threatened around the time Accept announced its reformation without their former singer, Udo Dirkschneider’s latest “solo” effort hits shelves exactly one month after his former band graced the Mod Club stage in T.O.. To say I’m a little underwhelmed would be an understatement. While Mark Tornillo has turned in a solid performance both live and on record, there’s a clear distinction between his voice and Udo’s that’s none more noticeable than when the latter has a new platter to digest as the former’s screams are still ringing in my ears.
The title track, which kicks off the album, is classic Udo, right down to its hella-cheesy chorus: “Whoa-oh-oh—Rev-Raptor!” Oookay… “Leatherhead” offers another oft-repeated, one-word chorus (can you guess what it is?) delivered in a style similar to Accept’s “Dogs on Leads” from the Metal Heart album. Elsewhere, we get more Engrish lyrics from the self-proclaimed German metal master such as “Only join the circus when you know that you can win!” (“Motor-Borg”), “I know the way to cross the street/I even know to Trick or Treat” (“I Give as Good as I Get”) and my personal favourite, “Don’t trust him, combust him, disgust him—Dr. Death!” (“Dr. Death”).
“I Give as Good as I Get” is the prerequisite power ballad, something rarely seen from bands that didn’t put out their debut album in the 80’s. As you can imagine, Udo’s gravelly voice singing a power ballad isn’t the most pleasant sound in the world, (though it’s been done before) and I’m not sure I’d wanna see the music video for this—unless it shows him crossing the street in a Halloween costume. “Rock ‘n Roll Soldiers” follows another familiar pattern: the song that sounds like “Balls to the Wall”. There’s at least one on every U.D.O. album, and with the opening riff and verse structure nicked from the Accept classic, “Soldiers” switches things up with a faux-inspirational power-metal sing-along chorus.
“Dr. Death” rev(-raptor)s things up again, albeit with a chug-a-lug pre-chorus breakdown and the aforementioned silly chorus. “Terrorvision” offers more of the same familiar chugging trad-metal riffs along with more well-worn lyrical themes. If I had a dollar for every song Udo has sung about the evils of TV, I’d have enough scratch to buy this record…
Alas, album number thirteen is another typical rehashed slog from Herr Dirkscheider and company that offers nothing new to the equation. If Blood of the Nations was an 8.5 in my books (truthfully, it deserves better—I got hung up on Tornillo’s army-man lyrics on my first few spins), then Rev-Raptor is a 6 at best. Probably just as well he’s not touring round here as this most recent material would hardly bring a house full of Sabaton fans down.