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Fairy Tales of Victory - 72%

Wykydtron84, June 5th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2011, CD, AFM Records

In 2011, U.D.O. released ‘Rev-Raptor’. It was the first album released after the reformed Accept released ‘Blood of the Nations’. Comparing the two albums, Accept takes the lead, somewhat making ‘Rev-Raptor’ forgettable. Though to be fair, the album itself doesn’t muster much excitement after listening to it.

In one regard U.D.O. is similar to Motorhead. Regardless of the times, every couple years another another U.D.O. release hits the shelves. Though at this point U.D.O. was going through the paces, as recent material was not as strong as material released in the prior decade. While there are no bad U.D.O. releases, ‘Rev-Raptor’ is one of the weaker entries in U.D.O. catalog. Having listened to the album for a few years now, it’s easy to point out where the album’s flaws are, as well as the highlights.

Again, with U.D.O. there are no bad songs, but the thirteen songs blend together in a way that makes you want to skip through tracks before finishing them. There is not much variation from song to song with the overall tone being very robotic/industrial sounding. In comparison to other releases, this one seems mostly filled with uninspired filler. Being a huge U.D.O. fan, saying such rubbish hurts.

Most U.D.O. albums have a definitive single from the album. Tracks like “Thunderball”, “24/7” and “Man and Machine” just to name a few. 'Rev-Raptor' while very consistent sounding, fails to deliver a definitive single for the years to come. This hurts the overall memorability of the release.

The album does have its moments. The title track, “Rev-Raptor”, starts the album off on a familiar pace we have grown accustomed to with U.D.O. I had the pleasure of seeing U.D.O. perform live, with this being the first song played. It was much more fulfilling as a live track than a studio track. But the album trails off after this and as mentioned above there isn’t much going on that makes an impact.

Other noteworthy tracks include ‘True Born Winners’ and ‘Rock’n’Roll Soldiers’ stand with the best in U.D.O.’s catalog. But the gem of the album is ‘Fairy Tales of Victory’. A slower tempo anthem that captures your attention immediately with its melodic riffing and mood setting power chords. The chorus while simplistic, will stick in your head for days.

Overall, the album is a great effort from a legendary artist. The band sounds great and Udo’s voice as usual lives up to high expectations. The album probably would have benefited if the album was cut down to 9-10 songs rather than 13. This would have emphasized the high points in some of the less impactful tracks, while overall making the album less one dimensional, repetitive and boring. It’s an overall hard album to listen to front to back, but the highlighted tracks mentioned above are solid reasons to check the album out.

After 25 years, U.D.O still can roll out the goods - 85%

TrooperOfSteel, July 16th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2011, CD, AFM Records

Udo Dirkschneider – a household name to the older generation of metalheads who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, maybe not so much the younger generation; but I’m sure all metalheads know of the band Accept and the song “Balls to the Wall”. It’s been a metal anthem ever since it was released way back in 1983. The man behind the mic, Udo Dirkschneider, formed his solo band in 1987 til 1992 (when he returned to Accept), before again leaving and returning to his solo band in 1996. Since then U.D.O. has delivered solid albums featuring gimmick free straight up heavy metal with an old school influence. U.D.O.’s latest album (their 13th) is entitled ‘Rev-Raptor’ and was released back in May of 2011. This review for it may be a year late, but I guess it’s better late than never.

When it comes to Udo Dirkschneider and U.D.O. in particular, you know what to expect and what you see is what you get. Similar to another long-standing band, AC/DC, both U.D.O. and Acca Dacca don’t and haven’t needed to change their style since day 1. Their style of straight up hard rock and heavy metal may be simple, but it’s highly infectious, catchy and most importantly; successful.

Udo’s partner in crime, guitarist Stefan Kaufmann, has been an integral part of U.D.O. ever since Dirkschneider asked him to join the band in 1996, after Accept’s second break-up. Not forgetting U.D.O.’s second guitarist Igor Gianola (ex-Jorn, ex-Wild Wily’s Gang), who’s superb strumming over the years has resulted in so many metalheads damaging their necks. A very solid line-up, the most recent member has been drummer Francesco Jovino, who has been in U.D.O. since 2005.

U.D.O. has been in a high quality album purple-patch as of late, starting (arguably) with 2005’s ‘Mission No. X’ and following through with ‘Mastercutor’ in 2007 and ‘Dominator’ in 2009. So if either or all of those albums brought a smile to your face in remembrance, then the latest CD ‘Rev-Raptor’ is a disc that you should be hunting down. While the cover-art on U.D.O.’s CDs has never been anything to write home about since their debut, you never judge a book by its cover as the old saying goes.

The title track starts like a clap of thunder with pounding drums slamming down followed by a shriek from Udo and the main guitar riff sings out; the track is flying by this stage. Udo’s unique and signature vocals slice through the metal air, proving that he’s still got it at almost 60 years of age (take note, Meatloaf). The chorus is of course catchy as hell and the guitar solo is nothing short of sensational. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve heard the same U.D.O. structure for their songs over the years, it still sounds so good, so catchy. It’s one of those unanswerable questions in the universe, how does it sound so good when I’ve heard it hundreds of times before? I don’t know – it just does.

More ball busting songs off the album come in the form of “Renegade”, which starts with a wild guitar riff followed by bruising and bombastic drum pounding and heavy bass from Fitty Weinhold. The track is relentless and energetic, giving your air guitar a massive workout in the process. Another powerful solo clinches it and you must hit the repeat button to hear it again. “Dr. Death” continues the flurry of full-throttle tracks on ‘Rev-Raptor’, with riffs galore, pulverizing drumming and Udo’s insatiable vocals buzzing in your ears. The first “anthem” track sings out, that reminds me greatly of Accept material, with “Rock ‘n’ Roll Soldiers”. Slower in pace to the previous tracks, however still as powerful, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Soldiers” will certainly be a track that gets played live during an U.D.O. gig.

There’s plenty more to enjoy from the excellent ‘Rev-Raptor’, including the slower-paced and lyrically dark-tinged “Underworld”, the grinding and boisterous “Pain Man” and the thundering hot “Motor-Borg”, which contains the best and catchiest chorus on the album, that you can’t help but to sing along to.

In the end, it comes down to consistency, and ‘Rev-Raptor’ certainly has that and then some. Not one dull moment in the disc and despite the simplicity of the tracks, Udo and company just know how to come up with kick ass songs; after all Udo’s had over 40 years experience under his belt in this game. The bottom line here – it’s Udo Dirkschneider, you know Accept and you know U.D.O.; you know what you like and if you’re salivating at the mouth from reading this review, then you know ‘Rev-Raptor’ is for you. It’s that simple.

Just a side note at the time of this review, is that U.D.O. has just recently released a two-disc compilation album named ‘Celebrator’ that contains rare material such as non-album tracks, bonus tracks from previously released CDs and remixes of other songs, both well known and not so well known. While hearing the rare songs for the first time (for me) is quite interesting, it also feels like an official brand new album even though it’s not; and just another reason for fans to grab both this and ‘Rev-Raptor’ at the same time.

(Originally written for www.themetalforge.com)

Whoa Whoa Whoa Rev-Raptor! - 90%

GeorgeTheJoker780, August 23rd, 2011

Udo is back and never seems to let up! This is the 13th studio album from his solo band. It starts right off with the title track which sounds quite influenced by Judas Priest. The riff is definitely heavy metal and the vocals sound as if Udo has been eating nails for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The chorus, as with many other songs on this album, is extremely catchy and you'll find yourself chanting along at first listen.

Afterwards comes the "Leatherhead" single release. It's a mid tempo song with some simple riffs and more catchy lyrics. This is a good consistent headbanger of a song. Then we have the "Renegade". Another song with some simple riffing but more speed and an extra heavy guitar tone. The next song "I Give as Good as I Get" is the most unique song on the album and is a great power ballad which compliments Udo's unique vocal style.

Unfortunately a few songs such as "Dr. Death" have some cheesy lyrics but they are undeniably catchy. "Terrorvision" is a song with some interesting lyrics and a chorus I find to be simply bad ass. Udo's gravely, vinegar voice really shines on a lot of these songs including the slower "Days of Hope and Glory". Other slower songs like "Fairy Tales of Victory" or "Underworld" are also good, heavy headbangers. All these songs are written between the genius of Udo Dirkschneider and Stefan Kaufmann. They work well together and churn out some phenomenal music!

All in all the production of this album may throw some people off. The guitars sound processed and the drums sound like the were done through a program on the computer. I find this appropriate and to me it matches the comic book type theme of the whole album as portrayed in the CD booklet. Also in some sections like the solo in "Terrorvision" there are moments where the music sounds like it's from a video game. I can understand why some people wouldn't like that but I believe it makes the album unique and interesting. I really enjoyed this album which is essentially the most important thing. Long live UDO!

Good, Consistent Stuff - 78%

GuntherTheUndying, May 26th, 2011

You know exactly what you get when Udo Dirkschneider comes around, and "Rev Raptor" is certainly no deviation from the dirty, driving machine of metal that the German legend forged from Odin's steel after he parted ways with Accept and formed his own project. It almost seems weird that Udo has been acting solo for such a long time, with "Rev Raptor" adding the thirteenth check to the band's list of full-length endeavors. Considering his time in Accept on top of that, Dirkschneider has contributed to over thirty full-length albums during his career; it's no small feat, that's for sure. "Rev Raptor" seems surprisingly predictable in the sense that it's Udo doing the same routine, but few can make it so empowered by energy and zest.

The most important part of this record is its natural relationship with Udo's voice, and the music is unapologetically simple and catchy. The songs remain in the same perimeter of classic 80s metal focused on choruses and slashing guitar solos, but it's actually surprising how well the postulate comes out. Most of the riffs are bitingly fresh and livid with power, while the percussion acts appropriately through catchy rhythms and bone-jarring might. Udo's low-range register makes for a nice listen as usual, and the dude has no problem nailing banshee-scaring screams and that goofy falsetto of his which sounds totally outrageous but totally awesome. "Rev Raptor" is also fairly long, standing at fifty-one minutes of metallic mechanics spread throughout thirteen tracks, and that's quite impressive considering the overused formula at helm.

It's easy to say the material kicks ass, but really, this is enjoyable stuff. "Dr. Death" and "Terrorvision" show the heavier side of Udo's tastes with speedy riffs and killer choruses, a generalized theme of the whole album. "Leatherhead" is incredibly dark, and "Days of Hope and Glory" brings a melancholic side to the record's steel curtain, making for a great closer. Maybe a quarter of the record isn't up to par: "I Give as Good as I Get" reminds me of a ballad Accept would have shelved for obvious reasons, whereas "True Born Winners" and "Pain Man" are lacking musically, but are far from being of a repulsive tenor. "Rev Raptor" hits the spot overall, and is certainly worthy of Udo's glorious voice. Those of you looking for a meaty slab of classic metal cooked right on the 1980s burners will want to feast here.

This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com

We're well beyond midlife crisis here - 68%

autothrall, May 20th, 2011

Let's have a show of hands for anyone who gives a damn about the new 'mascot' Udo has chosen for his solo career? Nobody? Count me entirely unsurprised. Udo Dirkschneider does not need a mascot, least of all some retarded icon redolent of an Insane Clown Posse paint job gone King Diamond on a bad hair day. Dirkschneider is a god among men, having fronted more great albums than Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson or Bruce Springsteen. Udo deserves tributes of wine, women and gold that he even lets us breathe the same air as he. So why, so late in his career was this unnecessary decision made? Needless to say, after viewing the covers for both this and the Leatherhead EP preview, I was worried...

Not that Dominator was an eye catcher, mind you, but the music at least lived up the legacy, for the most part. Rev-Raptor is perhaps the first case in many years in which the legend has begun to falter. There is nothing remotely terrible about this album, and it even manages a few decent anthems that the usual suspects will latch on to if they fancy Metal Heart, Animal House and all the guy's many classics, praised and unsung, but very few of the songs leave a lasting impression. "Fairytales of Victory" is your mid-paced Udo standard, pumping simplistic bass line glazed in cutting chords and a massive chorus. The slamming power of "Dr. Death", "Renegade" and "Terrorvision" are both quite effective, if nothing new for this band; and "Underworld" also has a huge set of balls that take you back to when every arena shaking Dirkschneider performance was the last thing you needed to witness before you could safely pass on from this world.

The rest of the album, is well...drab and uninteresting. In particular, the songs that were issued with the EP ("Leatherhead" and "Rock'N'Roll Soldiers") do nothing for me, solid but lacking in the fire and fun that made an album like Mastercutor so masterful despite itself. By this point it almost feels as if the guitar riffs are being recycled and paraphrased from Udo's own extensive backlog, so few times do they evoke anything compelling, and while these guys all play tight on both stage and in the studio, you get the feeling like they should attempt to stretch themselves more towards the limit. I mean, listen to the latest Accept album. Certainly they are trying to write with more intensity and intricacy, while Rev-Raptor sort of stagnates.

Dirkschneider can still deliver his lines with all the air raid torment of his youth, and as noted, there are several blockbusters here which stand aloft from their peers to get the head banging and the blood stirring in the listener's circulation, but overall, this is perhaps the lowest point for U.D.O. since Thunderball back in 2004. There's a song here called "I Give as Good as I Get", with THE MAN at the helm. How does that not just explode? Sad to say it doesn't (and that's one of the damned video/singles!) Not enough hooks, it just attempts to sail along on its own precedents, and in my opinion, that's just never enough for guys like Stefan Kaufmann and Udo Dirkschneider who have been my heroes for a damned eternity. Rev-Raptor isn't as bad as it might have been with that gaudy derelict of the mascot parade featured front and center, but neither is it worth remembering.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com