U.D.O. - 'Navy Metal Night'

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U.D.O. - 'Navy Metal Night'

Another priceless time capsule for the archives.

Stalking the stage like some tormented demon whilst spitting and snarling like a cornered banshee... 'Screaming For A Lovebite'... that's the enduring image of Udo Dirkschneider burnt into my brain.

Love him or loathe him (and yes, I get the Marmite connection), no one could deny that the diminutive powerhouse from Wuppertal has been one of the most important influences on the development of Metal for more than forty years. Obviously, he was pivotal to the mighty Accept sound that took the 1970's building blocks of Judas Priest to a whole other level in the early 1980s, but since the relationship between him and Accept main-man Wolf Hoffmann seems to be completely beyond repair, his attention is now fully-focussed on his namesake band U.D.O.

U.D.O. (of course) is nothing new – indeed debut 'Animal House' dates back to the mid-eighties and one of his more significant spats with Hoffmann and the Accept camp – and over the years they've probably come to mean almost as much to the ever growing legion of Dirkschneider fans. With a back catalogue of songs that even eclipses that of Accept (in magnitude at least), U.D.O. are a significant force on the European (nay global) Metal live scene, with regular festival appearances and extensive tours keeping the name in the mix.

There have been a clutch of U.D.O. live releases in recent years so the announcement of yet another hardly set my pulse racing, but wait a mo... this one is a bit different. In early 2014 U.D.O. played a very special show; the usual sell-out crowd treated to something the band had never tried before... they were accompanied throughout by a German Navy Orchestra (The Marinemusikkorps Nordsee). A somewhat strange pairing on paper I'll grant you, but as the likes of Metallica have proved in the past, when done properly it actually adds a whole other dimension to proceedings. This DVD/CD pairing captures that night.

No ubiquitous Accept classics in this set (that's a good thing), instead you get treated to a full-blown U.D.O. live workout with songs cherry picked from their entire career. A Metal band at heart (natch), whilst U.D.O. have always been characterised by intense riffs and thumping rhythms they've never lost sight of catchy hooks and anthemic choruses, and with the orchestra blazing away behind them these nuances are accentuated even more. I'm not even going to attempt a track by track critique (too much time, too little space), but suffice to say the likes of 'Animal House', 'Independence Day', 'Faceless World' and 'Dancing With An Angel' (a duet with the guesting Doro Pesch) are just some of the highlights from this unforgettable night.

Another priceless time capsule for the archives!

Dave Cockett

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