Reviewed: September, 2018
Released: 2018, AFM Records
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
U.D.O., formed by Udo Dirkschneider after he left Accept, is one of those bands I see so much of. They’ve been around about as long as I have, and in that time have put out (including this) 16 full length albums. I know these releases are, for the most part, well-received and liked. Yet I’ve never actually taken the plunge and listened to one, only ever hearing Udo’s work with Accept.
Having now done so, I can say I’m very pleased I did, as SteelFactory is a truly solid slab of hard rocking, arse-kicking heavy metal. It’s hard working and knows all the right tricks and turns to employ to craft something fun and catchy. Accept are the obvious comparison (and no bad thing, especially given the high quality of their recent output), but it also calls to mind Judas Priest, Grave Digger, Raven, Riot or Running Wild. Classic metal with just enough of a rough ‘n’ ready edge to keep it from feeling too polished.
“Tongue Reaper” is such a wonderfully fun opener, it has that perfectly tongue (oh-ho) in cheek level of silliness, but done so well you don’t care. There’s that same willingness to just have fun that you get in a lot of Anvil’s stuff. Others like “Hungry and Angry” or “Make the Move” are so god-damned catchy, you’ll be singing them in the car, the shower, at social gatherings, wherever. “Keeper of My Soul”, “Blood on Fire” and “One Heart One Soul” take a slower, rhythmic pace, demanding you nod the fuck along with the pounding drums and thick guitar riffing . “Eraser” slams its foot onto the pedal and blazes along at breakneck speed, while closers “Rose in the Desert” and “The Way” ease things down again for an end to the album. All these songs are so fun and energetic, and it carries over beautifully in the crystal clear production.
If you’re looking for something to venture outside of the comfort zone and do something different, look elsewhere. But the thing about that comfort zone is: it’s comfy for a reason, and it feels damn good when it’s done right. For a long-time fan this might be more of the same, but I have a feeling even then the quality will shine through and make this a wild ride for old veterans and newcomers alike.