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The First Day of The Rest of Udo's Life. - 83%

Metal_Jaw, April 3rd, 2013

I suppose there isn't much that can be said about Udo Dirkschneider that hasn't been said so many times already. Yes sir, he's one of the most reliable figures in all of heavy metal, and his near 50 year commitment to genre is steadfast and admirable. "Animal House" is the first in Udo's long, long line of straightforward solo albums after the guy up and left from the legendary Accept, who were doing their own thing with singer David Reece at the time. But THAT is another story for another day! Today, we're madmen, going crazy, living in an animal house!

First let's get Udo himself outta the way. Well, he as cool as he was in Accept. He shows off his range nicely, from his trademark nasally snarls and howls to his interesting, more clean vocals. Everyone else is, well, just adequate. The guitar duo of Peter Szigeti and Mathias Dieth are energetic and workmanlike, but nothing to note of; don't expect any cameos from Wolf Hoffman-type godliness here. Frank Rittel's bass is largely nonexistent and adds little to the sound, even in the few moments on which his work becomes audible. Thomas Franke rounds things out on the drums, giving, like the guitarists, a solid and energetic performance, if not pretty typical.

The songs, as some may know, were written by the then current members of Accept as a nice sort of good will farewell to Udo as he went out on his own. As such it does often have a sound very much in the vein of classic Accept, albeit maybe at a tad more rudimentary in execution compared to their own stuff. We start off with the interesting title track, which initiates with a nifty, moody intro bit before going straight into being a solid, up-tempo pounder with a pretty fun chorus. The more fearsome and calculating "Go Back To Hell" follows, with a killer main riff and fiery solo; a personal favorite of this album. The dirty, downbeat cruising of the fan favorite "They Want War" is next; pretty good riffs here, with another very memorable chorus, though the odd children's chorus backing vocals (yeah, seriously) is pretty damn off-putting. Some other solid numbers abound, such as the wicked speed metaller "Coming Home" and some mid-paced pounding found with the cheesy yet dark and heavy "Hot Tonight" and the catchy, blazing ass-kicking of "Lay Down The Law". But like any metal album, some tracks don't really click. "We Want It Loud" is rather boring as far as speed metal goes, while a dull attempt at a ballad is made with "In The Darkness", and the bizarrely stripped down anthem "Run For Cover" ends the album; I am a sucker for the chorus though!

Overall, it ain't bad. Nothing special, but not bad either. Some odd choices and a few boring tracks do make the album sigh-worthy at times, but most of the songs work pretty good. The band also performs vigorously if not especially vividly, though Udo stills shines above them all. A good start, but Udo and U.D.O. would go on for many more years to come and release a number of far superior albums to this one. It's only just begun...

An almost-classic... - 79%

Snxke, December 21st, 2004

Udo Dirkschneider releases an Accept album under the name "U.D.O." (the entire album was written by the Accept crew for the man as they was heading off to "bigger and better" things with with new singer David Reese) and launched one of the more entertaining and consitent solo careers in the history of German metal. This CD is a sweet production job with all the knobs twisted in the right places and a band that matches the intensity of Accept in all but the lead guitar work. Udo sounds like Udo always has making the vocals classy and catchy. So why is this an "almost classic" despite having all the right elements?

It's the songs. This CD has very few classics in comparison to what the early Accept years had. Thankfully though, Udo saves the day by delivery a few classics in the old-school Accept style. The frantic "Animal House" rates up with anything else Udo has done, the scathing "Go Back to Hell" may be the greatest backup song ever and "Lay Down the Law" is a cruising rock and roll event. While not a rocker, "They Want War" is a somewhat tacky but also uplifting number that bears a rousing chorus that even features a children choir (!!!). It may sound a bit dated in these cynical times...but it's got one of the biggest choruses in rock and roll and deserves a listen.

Udo would write some better albums than this ("Holy" and "Faceless World" come to mind) but overall "Animal House" is a successful first step for a man that has become the genres "ironman". Udo has never sold out, never stopped and despite many heart attacks has refused to tame his sound. Good or bad - Udo is Udo and is hopelessly dedicated to metal.

Enjoy this with a six pack and a heart full of pride for the genre...oh yeah...skip the crappy filler and indulge in the classics to keep faith in the great concept that is Udo.