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What do we still love the old man for? Definitely for his permanency, diligence and devotion to the genre. Who else stood the test of time so well? Just a few. While the world of music was bombarded with tons of grunge and his majesty Metal suffered rather hard times, unlike lots of others, Mr. Dirkschneider didn’t even think to lay down his arms following up on the once chosen road. Who can hold a candle to this veritable partisan of Teutonic metal? Definitely, no one. No comparisons would be relevant here. If UDO imitated someone else this someone else would be UDO himself. And let the evil tongues exclaim time and again that the old fellow is played out and his game is over. We know for sure he isn’t and everything is just about to start, once you’ve put into your player a new creation by that tireless missionary, once you’ve pushed play.
No sooner had the hasty embarkation been completed than the whole array with the commander-in-chief himself raised their arms and joined and swelled the ranks. And here we are on our common mission again led by our immutable guide along the straight and narrow road ready to rock and roll 24 hours a day seven days a week. And all of us, no doubt, are sure that neither mean streets nor the eye of the omnipresent eagle can stop our battle gait because we’re as hard as stone and for us there’s no border that can’t be broken down. Such is our way of life. And let them say that we are all on the verge of madness – we need the action – we need the ride, that’s satisfaction – on overdrive.
Well, focusing on the music itself, it is nothing else but true German steel forged by ACCEPT brand as far back as the late 70’s. Certainly the sound production itself has undergone some noticeable change since then, but all in all we still have the same easily recognizable songwriting work fully packed with fast-paced tracks alternated from time to time with some more leisurely songs. Everything is adorned with irreproachable vocal endeavors from the maestro himself who sounds as fresh and inimitable as in his less mature years when he and his band mates were still riding high. The mix and sound palette are excellent too and no instrument seems to dominate over each other.
I wouldn’t like to sound repetitive, but on Mission No. X you are unlikely to find any novelties or surprises though Primecrime on Primetime and Mean Streets due to their recurring riffs, altered structure, and spoken vocal manner on the latter are some distance away from the rest of the album and can be supposedly regarded to some extent as extraordinary tracks. What concerns up-tempo tracks, such as Mission No X, 24/7, Breaking Down the Borders, or Mad for Crazy, they, like a fair amount of their previous replicas, possess a supernatural ability to deliver a precise hook upon the very first spin what can’t be referred to the mentioned above mid-tempo tracks Primecrime on Primetime, Mean Streets and Stone Hard which, if honestly, didn’t impress me at all during my first listen but only to become my favorites in the long run. For the stalwarts of a more mellow side of Heavy Metal there are also two ballads Eye of the Eagle and Cry Soldier Cry, which don’t represent anything unusual and just repeatedly emphasize UDO’s melodic talents.
So, did Mr. Dirkscnider pursue to make a splash filling the mould with a regular portion of metal? Certainly, he didn’t. All he meant was to do his habitual job in order to breathe some energy and enthusiasm into our exhausted brains. And I have to admit that he did quite a good job as usual.
To crown it all, we have another smelt of metal from the unexhausted German steel maker, just another rock in the citadel named UDO… or should I say ACCEPT? And since the foundation for this citadel was laid in the time immemorial it’ll be pretty fair to grade it with 80 out of 100. Once on mission, forever on mission…