Nima : Udo Dirkschneider and his U.D.O. always guarantee quality and a new album from the band is always a festive event for me. In 2012 guitarist and former Accept-buddy Stefan Kaufmann (who had been in the band for sixteen years, and due to his sound, style and production works was very prominent for the band’s sound) was forced to quit due to health issues. Shortly after his departure also guitarist Igor Gianola decided to go his own way, after being part of the band for thirteen years. But the band did let that discourage them, and armed with the new guitarist Andrey Smirnov they released the solid ’Steelhammer’ album in 2013. That record showed a more old-school approach, but sounded quite fresh at the same time. And so U.D.O. not only proved to be alive and enthusiastic, but also still very strong.
Less than two years later, the fifteenth studio album, ‘Decadent’, will hit the stores at the end of this month already. And what is there yet to say about U.D.O.? This is one of those band from which you always know what you can expect, and ‘Decadent’ is no exception. This is a logical follow-up of ‘Steelhammer’, and the old-school approach the band showed on the predecessor has been drawn further. In the past 25 years U.D.O. has proved never to stray much from their original sound and style. ‘Decadent’ is therefore another typical U.D.O. record that has everything you can and may expect, and one that meets all criteria.
And so what we have here is a delightful versatile album with speed demons such as ‘Speeder’, ‘Meaning Of Life’, and ‘Under Your Skin’, sturdy rockers like ‘Untouchable’ and the title track, a typical U.D.O. ballad (‘Secrets In Paradise’), and of course sturdy headbangers like ‘House Of Fake’. The atmosphere of the earlier works is audible throughout the entire album, but mostly reveals itself in songs such as ‘Rebels Of The Night’, ‘Pain’, and ‘Breathless’. The “stranger” on this album is the dragging mid-tempo rocker (with an a bit of an industrial-sounding touch) ‘Mystery’, which has a threatening and sinister atmosphere to it. And finally in the beautiful closer, ‘World In Flame’, we have another atmospheric, theatrical semi-ballad.
All-in all ‘Decadent’ has turned out even a bit stronger than its predecessor. But that’s logical; the new line-up (filled with second guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen) has become tighter since the last album and the band sounds more like a unit again. All twelve tracks on ‘Decadent’ are solid compositions, and highlights on their own. The production team is kept the same as n ‘Steelhammer’ (being Udo himself, bassist Fitty Weinhold, and producer Matti Baybee), with the mastering by Jacob Hansen (a.o. Primal Fear, Doro, Destruction and Volbeat), and so sonically the album leaves no place for discussion either. All put together make ‘Decadent’ a very strong album that sounds delightfully traditional, but very contemporary at the same time, and will therefore apply to many generations of heavy metal fans.