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Metalized: 20 Years of Metal – Best of U.D.O.
Released: 2008, Locomotive Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
A brief run of live appearances in 2005 got a lot of Accept fans salivating but frontman Udo Dirkschneider made no bones about dismissing the chances of a full-fledged reunion. Fully intent to concentrate on a comfortable solo career under the U.D.O. moniker, Dirkschneider let the past remain in the past and focused on the future instead. Most North Americans are unaware the diminutive vocalist has been steadily releasing solo albums since 1988 and will always associate him simply with “Balls To The Wall” but those in the know can attest that, while certainly spotty, Dirkschneider’s post-Accept output has some highlights. ANIMAL HOUSE, MEAN MACHINE, HOLY, MASTERCUTOR and TIMEBOMB are solid collections of decidedly European classic metal but he also has duds like NO LIMITS and MISSION NO. X to contend with. Regardless, Locomotive Music has packaged together sixteen U.D.O. tracks on METALIZED: 20 YEARS OF METAL, an album that carries the arguable subtitle BEST OF U.D.O., which is difficult to justify given the track selection.
The greatest U.D.O. album remains 1988’s ANIMAL HOUSE, his first after leaving Accept for the first time, and no collection would be complete without the title track and “They Want War,” both found here. Other staples included are “Thunderball,” “Heart of Gold,” “Holy” and “Cut Me Out” which most fans will already have. The more curious inclusions are the horrifyingly bad “Trainride In Russia” and an almost unrecognizable acoustic version of “Balls To The Wall” featuring only piano, cello and Dirkschneider’s pensively subdued vocals. Maybe it was an early warning from a friend and admitted Accept/U.D.O.-phile who heard the track and relayed its blasphemous treatment here but I don’t mind the unplugged treatment of the 1983 classic. It certainly doesn’t trump the original and it is a major departure from the grizzled hit but this version actually reminded me somewhat of Johnny Cash’s emotional take on Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt.” Check out the previously unreleased “Shadow Maker” and “Terror In Paradise,” outtakes from the MASTERCUTOR sessions included here, that rock as hard as anything Dirkschneider has ever done, too.
Some will argue that the complete absence of anything from MEAN MACHINE instantly discredits any “best of” U.D.O. sampling but there is a fairly broad overview of the band’s career and four previously unreleased tracks to entice long-time fans who already own the U.D.O. albums to shell out fifteen bucks for this collection. Reportedly, U.D.O. fans chose the tracklist via online voting but I question the numbers. Flawed as it is, METALIZED: 20 YEARS OF METAL-BEST OF U.D.O. isn’t too bad but remains far from any “best of” that a true fan of the band would compile on his or her own.
2. Heart of Gold
3. Animal House
4. Cut Me Out
5. They Want War
6. Cry Soldier Cry
7. In The Darkness
8. Man and Machine
10. Trainride In Russia
11. Independence Day
13. Shadow Maker - (previously unreleased)
14. Terror In Paradise - (previously unreleased)
15. Balls To The Wall - (previously unreleased acoustic version)
16. Bullet and The Bomb - (previously unreleased, live from St. Petersburg)
Mathias Dieth, Peter Sziegeti, Jurgen Graf, Stefan Kaufmann, Igor Gianola—Guitar
Frank Rittel, Thomas Smuszynski, Fitty Weinhold—Bass
Thomas Franke, Stefan Schwarzmann, Lorenzo Milani, Francesco Jovino—Drums
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