In Defense of U.D.O.
Hey, it’s MonStar. You don’t know me well, but I did inspire the ‘Best Unsigned Band’ state competition, so hopefully I’ve helped the Toilet readers share and discover some good shit. What I’m about to say strays pretty far from what we’ve heard in that competition across this great land. I ask the good readers of this site to hear me out for a metal minute.
While I don’t read every Toilet post start to finish, I feel like I have a solid grasp on what the writers and commenters on this site are into, which is by and large death (and related sub genres), black (and related sub genres), crust, grind, sludge, doom, atmospheric, and… power metal. Of course there are exceptions, but to this observer those styles incorporate 90% of the music posted. I love many extreme metal bands (some of which I discovered through the toilet) but my bread and butter is in the vein of more classic heavy metal.
To that end, I was dismayed a few weeks ago to find that U.D.O.’s new album Decadent had been given the ol’ lolbuttz award for Toilet Tuesday. Some commentators made it clear that they agreed, and I wept a single tear. Symbolically, that is. I didn’t really weep; I’m not a pussy for chrissakes. Anyway, I was too late to get in on the commenting and have anyone see it (which is why I generally don’t comment more), so I made a vow to present my case that U.D.O. is not lolbuttz, and if you like straight up heavy metal you should give the chubby little weirdo and his boys a shot.
The short version of my argument is this: Do you like Accept? Because listening to U.D.O. is like finding a dozen lost Accept albums you never knew existed. If you don’t like Accept… fine, you won’t like U.D.O., but I’m guessing that there’s more Midnight Movers out there than not. Accept, formed by glass swallowing warbler Udo Dirkschneider, was a principal force in the German metal movement of the 80’s and a forefather of speed metal and thrash. And who doesn’t like ridiculous titles like “Fast as a Shark” and “Screaming for a Love-Bite”?
When Udo left to form U.D.O., their first album Animal House kept those fires going. Allmusic shows the songwriting responsibilities on that album shared by Udo and members of Accept, which leads one to believe maybe the songs were payment for letting Accept keep the name without him. Anyway, I’m just speculating. Regardless, U.D.O. has never strayed far from that formula.
In other words, all of U.D.O.’s albums sound the same, and I completely agree with this critique. However, like many other bands who fall into that category (Motorhead comes to mind), with some given fluctuation in quality, they’ve never made a bad one (or conversely, for you cynics, I suppose they’re all bad). If you like one, you’ll like them all. And more and more of them keep popping up on Spotify. The dude has been busy, with 15 albums between 1987 and 2015, not including live albums and compilations. I’m sure it would have been more without the 90’s Accept reunion which saw three albums before dissolving.
Look, you’re not going to hear mind-bending, progressive, deep shit, but you might hear your next workout or road trip soundtrack. Sometimes you’ll even find a little surprise like the Russian folk stomp of “Trainride in Russia”, the piano in “Cut Me Out” or the Middle Eastern inspired chant around “Wrong Side of Midnight”. You might be surprised; you might not. But for an accessible, fun, upbeat listen, you could do much worse. Give U.D.O. a shot, cheesy music videos and all. Don’t cost nuthin’. Mock me if you will, but the lil’ thunderball has my support.
“Wrong Side of Midnight”
“Cut Me Out”
Sentimental Favorite: “Trainride in Russia”