Released: 2014, AFM Records
You might not have asked for it but by Gott you are going get it, another live album from U.D.O. and crew. STEELHAMMER – LIVE FROM MOSCOW marks the 5th such live product since 2001 and 2nd within three years. Yet, when an album is recorded this majestically, then the saturation of live albums can be forgiven. STEELHAMMER – LIVE FROM MOSCOW sounds better than 80% of studio albums today, and as you might have guessed the album contains an abundance of material from U.D.O’s 2013 album STEELHAMMER. The package makes a case for its worthiness by providing a double CD worth of tunes and a live DVD. This is also truly an U.D.O. album with only one Accept tune and other songs rarely heard or played live by the band. Last point of note is that this album features the new U.D.O. lineup after the departure of foundational members Stefan Kaufmann and Igor Gianola.
Udo himself delivers the goods, a man that will certainly take his place beside Halford and Dio in metal Valhalla, if for nothing more than his distinctive vocals and committed passion to a life of metal. The vocals are prominent in the mix, and Udo is clearly glad to be back in what is a special place for him regarding fans, the Russians embracing Accept and Udo as their own. Naturally, it helps when a band is blessed with a collection of songs that so clearly belong in a live environment, U.D.O. delivering a huge dose of anthemic and memorable tunes. The band is on fire, everyone focused and tight while showcasing their unquestionable talent.
High points are numerous, and for me would include the Van Halen inflected “Trip To Nowhere”, from the now 24 year old album FACELESS WORLD. “King Of Mean” sounds great live, as does “Cry Of A Nation”, proving that the older and newer material co-exists seamlessly. In truth everything works here, U.D.O. rivaling Overkill and Motorhead in terms of consistently high quality releases year after year. Grizzled and aged but still cranking, U.D.O. along with Accept could arguably be considered the very essence of traditional heavy metal and I am not the first to say it. If you are a fan then you already know the answer to this one; acquire immediately.