U.D.O. Gear Up For The Release Of ‘Steelhammer’ With New Video
May 5, 2013
U.D.O.’s newest slab of metal, ‘Steelhammer’, will be released on May 24th through AFM Records and a music video for the album’s first single “Metal Machine” has been posted.
With a career that began in 1987 following vocalist Udo Dirkschneider’s departure from the legendary Accept, U.D.O. has enjoyed well over two decades in the spotlight. Regardless of changes in the metal scene or the U.D.O line-up, the band has never deviated from Dirkschneider’s vision of serving up traditional balls-to-the-wall, no-nonsense heavy metal. From the ‘Animal House’ debut (1987), through the shred of ‘Timebomb’ (1991), the old school approach of ‘Holy’ (1999), the pounding success of ‘Mastercutor’ (2007), and the more modernized sound of ‘Rev-Raptor’ (2011), U.D.O. have maintained a reputation for delivering the goods every time they unleash a new album. ‘Steelhammer’ is no exception, and it marks a bold new chapter in U.D.O. history.
‘Steelhammer’ is the ultimate back-to-basics U.D.O. record. The exit of long time guitarist/producer Stefan Kaufmann — Dirkschneider’s partner-in-crime as far back as the Accept days — and guitarist Igor Gianola gave Dirkschneider, bassist Fitty Wienhold and drummer Francesco Jovino the opportunity to rediscover and rebuild the U.D.O. sound. As a result the trademark Kaufmann groove of the last several albums is gone on ‘Steelhammer’, replaced by a much warmer and more organic metal vibe.
“I just had this strong deja-vu of how we felt back in the old days and it inspired me to go kind of back to the roots with this album,” Dirkschneider admits. “When Stefan left it was like being thrown into cold water for the first as he took care of the production. But then we sat together, had a few drinks and chats, and somehow this situation reminded us of the old days. We felt like fresh young kids again that face something that is quite new for them but who are so excited about everything. And as we started working we suddenly saw it was like when you learn how to ride a bicycle; you never forget how to do it. I had a production company with Michael Wagener years ago, so I was able to do ‘Steelhammer’ because of that experience. It was like doing the same kind of production as we did in the old days and it felt like being back — in any possible way. ‘Steelhammer’ is a new start for U.D.O. and at the same time it feels like being back home to where we belong.”
Dirkschneider and Kaufmann remain friends after almost 40 years; only their working relationship has come to an end because of Kaufmann’s health issues. At the same time, Dirkschneider found a new writing partner in Wienhold and the pair ended up writing the entire ‘Steelhammer’ record together after 15 years of sharing stages and studio time.
‘Steelhammer’ also boasts the entrance of two new guitarists to the U.D.O. camp; Russia-born shredder Andrey Smirnov and Finnish axe-slinger Kasperi Heikkinen. The pair were chosen from 300 demo tapes submitted for consideration. The album was well on its way to being written by the time Smirnov was called on to audition, and he ended up recording all the guitars on ‘Steelhammer’ over a three week period. Heikkinen was brought in after the recordings were complete but has already cemented himself as a full member of U.D.O. in time for the band’s North American tour.
Reflecting on what U.D.O. has accomplished with ‘Steelhammer’, Dirkschneider can only think positive thoughts for the future. The band was nowhere near dead or dying when work began on the new album, but the end result is better than what he or anyone else had expected going in. “What I like about the new album is that it’s got everything on it; fast songs (“Basta Ya”, “Death Ride”, “Stay True”), a real ballad (“Heavy Rain”), and some up-tempo songs (“Time Keeper”, “King Of Mean”, “Metal Machine”, “Steelhammer”),” says Dirkschneider. “The good thing is that after 14 albums with U.D.O. and 10 albums with Accept — and don’t get me wrong — I don’t think ‘Oh, I have to be really heavy metal on this new album.’ We’re not writing any blues or boogie stuff, we’re still doing metal music, but we’re open to everything. It doesn’t matter to me. If the song needs a triangle or a flute, it’ll get one (laughs).”
Courtesy of www.sleazeroxx.com