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another brick to the ancient citadel - 80%

DARKLIGHTER, December 4th, 2005

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…


Come and join our mission, mission no. X - 90%

Conquistador, October 16th, 2005

Hi metalheads out there, some of you may know the great U.D.O who were founded after the godly ACCEPT had kicked singer Udo Dirkschneider in late 1987, but after the ACCEPT reunion in 1992 they broke up....

When ACCEPT were finished again, the band came together again in 1997 and released a row of great albums...but that's not the topic.

I'm here to review their newest effort "Mission No. X", and as it is their tenth studio work, the title follows the logical trend! Another word to U.D.O again, they have their own style in which they do nearly every record, comparable to RUNNING WILD! So if you don't like this style, it's senseless to read this review and even more senseless to buy the record!

It starts once again with an intro, an instrumental piece called "The Embarkation" and since we haven't had this kind of thing since the legendary "No Limits"-album in 1998, it's a welcome change! But it's nothing special, it just starts the album in a solid way, leading us directly into the titletrack and what's that??? This shall be the name bearer for this album?? This track is simply boring, no matter what Udo and Stefan thought when they made this one...simple and boring riff, awful drumbeats and Udo's singing sounds as if it had been 4 o'clock in the morning and he had been up the past three days without a break! The verse lines are uninspired, the group-sung bridge is horrible and boring and the chorus is sooooooo lame......
Let's forget that quickly, as U.D.O is one of my favorite bands, I'll give them another chance!

And with "24/7" they make a point....what a cool track! My patience has been paid back! Great riff, cool verses, an absolutely asskicking bridge and what a chorus! You could sing that for hours! "You know we live it;24/7, twenty-four hours, seven days a week"

We go on with "Mean Streets" which comes kinda unexpected for me because it's very strange! It has only that groovy-as-hell main riff and there is no real singing, there's just rapping! But that's not bad at all because it fits really well! The bridge is solid and that the chorus is a bit boring doesn't really matter!

The next one is "Primecrime on Primetime", a real stomper with a whole lot of power! The lyrics are quite good and deal with violence shown on T.V.!
Especially the riff-o-riff part after the second chorus RULES!The chorus itself is very simple but memorable!

But what now follows is something I never expected: "Eye of the Eagle", one of the best songs U.D.O ever did! it buils up amazing as a ballad, then becomes a little bit more majestical, then gets back again! And that chorus is soooooooo amazing! Even the solo is great! This is truely one of the best songs I ever heard!

Next is "Shell Shock Fever" which is a realy disappointment for me! Okay, if I'm honest, nearly every song would be a disappointment after "Eye of the Eagle", but that is terrible! For me the weakest song here up to now! Terrible verses, the bridge is crap and the chorus doesn't get into my head...and that does mean something with the band that writes some of the catchiest tunes I've ever heard! Horrible!

Now comes the mighty "Stone Hard" and that is one hell of a fucking song! Skull-splitting riff, great lyrics and verses, the bridge is catchy-as-fuck and the chorus is a monster! The group-singing here is the best on the entire album besides "Eye of the Eagle", and my satan, is this one monumental!
Can't get enough of it!!!

"Breaking Down the Borders" is the typical song that U.D.O has done so many times before! You can sing along after the second listen and as fast as you learned it, you forget that song again! Nothing special though the chorus is pretty decent!

"Cry Soldier Cry" is the other (half)ballad here and it rules! Great melody in the verses, an unbelievable bridge and a very emotional chorus! And the instrumental part is also great! Love it!

"Way of Life" is a coverversion of a song that U.D.O had on "No Limits" and I have to say I like the original better! Although the solo on this one is done by Mathias Dieth, who was in the band many years ago and who is surely skilled, I must also say that the original solo back then done by Jürgen Graf was better for me! Nothing special here!

The closing track is "Mad for Crazy" and yeah, this one is crazy! Fast paced guitars, the drums hammer up-tempo and Udo screams his heart out! And that chorus is great again! Good closer!

All in all, this is very good! Surely not U.D.O's best, but a lot better than their weakest albums, for example better than "Thunderball"! Although there are some weaker and one horrible track, the balance is held by three great and a lot of very good songs! Highly recommended!