Now that you’ve all had time to check out our interview with Udo Dirkschneider, I thought we’d see what’s what with Decadent, the fifteenth album from U.D.O. hitting the U.S. on February 3 via AFM Records. As I have said many, many times before, this band’s albums have been largely hit or miss for me. However, last record Steelhammer was definitely a hit, and the subsequent Steelhammer – Live From Moscow was pretty damn good as well. So I was pretty optimistic about this release. After a listen-and-a-half I thought it was pretty good. But this turned out to be one of those discs that snuck up on me, and by the third or fourth listen I found a lot more to sink my teeth into.
The album starts off in typical U.D.O. fashion with “Speeder” and title track “Decadent.” Musically they’re great, but honestly these two songs pale in comparison to the others. From here though, the album really picks up steam. “House of Fake” is about corrupt governments, and the guitars of Andrey Smirnov and Kasperi Heikkinen are just as biting as the lyrics. So now I’m sitting up a little straighter in my chair when “Pain”, my runaway favorite hits me. This is another one of those songs you listen to six or seven times before you can even think of moving on with the record. It’s hard-hitting, and Udo himself says, “It is a song about how much pain can we take every time we switch on the news? The news is almost like a horror movie with wars and massacres going on.” It is also a reminder of why I do NOT watch the news. The axe men have a nice little dual harmony solo run that has also has them going back and forth as well.
“Meaning of Life” is unabashed heavy fucking metal the way it’s supposed to be: kicking asses and taking names, and “Breathless” has the riff machine firing at will with Fitty Wienhold’s thick bass lines super-glued to each note. And just when you think it can’t get any harder or faster along comes “Under Your Skin” a fast-driving song if ever there was one. U.D.O. fans, you probably shouldn’t be behind the wheel for this one, ‘cause I see the needle getting buried! A furious mid-tempo rocker is next in “Untouchable” which finds Udo’s voice dripping acid on top of one of the best guitar lines the album has. The gang vocals on the chorus only cement its greatness.
“Rebels of the Night” deals with some of the unfortunate events that took place last year in the Ukraine and man alive, is it fiery, particularly the solo. These two young gunslingers work extremely well together. I can’t remember an U.D.O. album having such excellent guitar work, I really can’t. Capping the album is “Words in Flame” a slow stomper that moves like an advancing army of foot soldiers ready to battle. It is 7:36 that will have you riveted from start to finish. All told, Decadent is a really great album that benefitted from being a collaborative effort from everyone who played on it. It may have taken me a few spins, but I definitely fell in love with it, and I’m looking forward to seeing U.D.O. live hopefully towards the end of 2015.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Pain”, House of Fake”, “Rebels of the Night”, “Untouchable”, “Meaning of Life”, “Under Your Skin”