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As a devout follower of Accept and also of Udo Dirkschneider's legendary career, I approached the new U.D.O. album Touchdown with a mixture of excitement and skepticism. Having Directed the Music Videos for Accept’s “Teutonic Terror”, “Pandemic” and produced “Stampede” to say that I am close to the Accept world is an understatement.  I first interviewed Udo back in Boston at the Orpheum Theater on their first tour, opening up in the small venue for another new band, Guns n Roses.  Having witnessed the evolution of Germanic metal through the decades, I've seen Udo's solo endeavors traverse various terrains, and when Peter Baltes left Accept and then in April of this year officially joined U.D.O., I was excited to see what the new combination would bring.

For over four decades, Udo Dirkschneider's unmistakable voice has been a rallying cry in the realm of Heavy Metal. Emerging from the seminal German band Accept, Udo's scorching vocals and indomitable stage presence have become iconic. After his departure from Accept, he embarked on a solo journey, founding U.D.O., a project that has since released a staggering 18 albums, each a testament to the enduring power of pure, unadulterated metal.

In the wake of challenging pandemic years and the departure of bassist Tilen Hudrap, U.D.O. storms back with a record that embodies the spirit of a victorious touchdown. Anthemic, unapologetically brutal, and authentic to its core, this album adds another jewel to the band's illustrious career.  The album carries a sense of homecoming for Udo, as his original Accept comrade, Peter Baltes, steps in on bass—an unforeseen turn of events. Dirkschneider recounts, "When Tilen suddenly had to cancel the shows of last summer for health reasons, we urgently needed a replacement for the current tour and the next festivals. By a huge coincidence, Peter offered to help us out for the few shows." The chemistry rekindled instantly, reminiscent of the old days. "It just felt so incredibly familiar and right to me," Udo adds. Fate seemed to have orchestrated this reunion.

With Peter Baltes taking on bass duties, the pieces fell into place seamlessly. Baltes contributed his bass expertise to every track on Touchdown, marking a harmonious collaboration where each member found their rightful place. With the addition of Udo's son, Sven Dirkschneider, and guitarists Andrey Smirnov and Fabian "Dee" Dammers, U.D.O. has transformed into a multigenerational family business. Their live performances read like a world tour diary, including shows in unconventional locales like Ukraine's Chernobyl-ridden Crimean Peninsula , Bolivia's oxygen-thin La Paz at over 4,000 meters above sea level, and this November 16, the Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.

The new album, Touchdown, signifies a new epoch in U.D.O.'s legacy. Produced by Martin Pfeiffer at Redhead Studio (Wilhelmshaven, Germany) and engineered by former Accept Drummer Stefan Kaufmann at ROXX Studio (Solingen, Germany), it's a testament to the band's dedication to their craft. The album is a statement—an assertion that U.D.O. not only endures but thrives in the ever-evolving landscape of heavy metal.

Enough of the chatter… time to crank it up.

Isolation Man: The album kicks off with unrelenting energy of Sven Dirkschneider’s driving drums and some solid guitar riffs. The dual guitars and Udo's commanding vocals set the stage for an exhilarating journey.  The song has some great time changes which have become a staple of the U.D.O. discography. 

The Flood: This track is a relentless surge of power, driven by thunderous drums and searing guitars. The intro guitar attack is really solid, and Udo's vocals soar, creating an electrifying atmosphere.  The chorus gets a bit more melodic, but keeps it heavy.

The Double Dealer's Club: Memorable riffs and sharp guitar hooks define this track. It's a testament to the band's mastery of their craft, combining precision with unbridled energy. 

Fight For The Right: An explosive blend of powerful riffs and dynamic drumming propels this track forward. Udo's vocals add an extra layer of intensity, creating a visceral listening experience.  The highlight here is the great Arpeggio classical style solo by Andrey Smirnov

Forever Free: This anthem showcases the band's ability to craft infectious melodies and memorable choruses. It’s more of a classic U.D.O. track going back to the Solid, or Thunderball era. I really like this track for the classic group vocal, and melodic chorus. The guitar work is impeccable, delivering hooks that linger long after the song ends.

Punchline: With relentless rhythm guitars and a driving drumbeat, "Punchline" is a showcase of the band’s unyielding energy. The vocal pause add an extra layer of intensity, creating a dynamic interplay of sound. “Where is the punchline here?”  Great hook.

Sad Man's Show: Combining heavy percussion, a great intro combined with frenzied vocal delivery, this track is a masterclass in heavy metal. The guitar solos add a layer of complexity, creating a multi-dimensional listening experience, as the vocals and guitars constantly change tempo, creating different moods.

The Betrayer: Monstrous chugging guitars set the tone for this relentless onslaught of sound. A nice epic Udo scream is always a fan favorite. The drums provide a solid foundation really impressed with Sven Dirkschneider’s work creating a track that is bound to leave a lasting impression. Sven’s and Peter Baltes driving rhythm work is really a highlight of the whole album.

Heroes Of Freedom: This track transcends traditional U.D.O. songwriting, showcasing the band's ability to craft powerful, anthemic choruses.  The guitars are the heroes here on so many levels, The rhythm guitars deliver tight heavy metal chorus riffs while not overpowering, creating a song that is both dynamic and unforgettable.

Better Start To Run: With solid guitars and anthemic choruses, this track exemplifies U.D.O.'s ability to marry aggression with melody. The guitars, vocals, and drums work in perfect harmony, creating a seamless symphony of sound.  Another solid solo by Andrey Smirnov.  I miss the days of physical copies of

The Battle Understood: Reminiscent of some of the tracks off 2007’s Mastercutor, this track features solid and powerful riffs. The guitars blaze through the up-tempo, leaving an indelible mark.

Living Hell: These are the guitars I came here for.  Chunk, heavy, and driving, maintaining a swaggering and unrelenting attitude, this track unfolds with unbridled force. Love the mix as the vocals are right there, they are in a dual with the guitars with both playing their roles.  The guitars deliver a barrage of heavy metal riffs, while the drums provide the necessary backbone. Probably my favorite track on the album.

Touchdown: The album culminates in an anthemic title track tour de force. The rampaging riffs and relentless pace crack like “Fast as a Shark” and the American Football theme showcases the bands desire to expand more solidily into the USA market.  It’s a solid track and should solidify U.D.O.'s place among the heavy metal elite still cranking out solid work after 40 years.

In a landscape teeming with modern metal, Touchdown boldly embraces the essence of classic heavy metal. It's a testimony to Udo Dirkschneider's enduring legacy and the band's unwavering commitment to their craft. From the thunderous riffs of "Isolation Man" to the anthemic chorus of "Living Hell," the album surges with unrelenting power, cementing U.D.O.'s status as icons of the genre.


Udo Dirkschneider – vocals

Andrey Smirnov – guitar

Sven Dirkschneider – drums

Fabian Dee Dammers – guitar

Peter Baltes – bass


TOUCHDOWN - Tracklist

1.      Isolation Man

2.      The Flood

3.      The Double Dealer's Club

4.      Fight For The Right

5.      Forever Free

6.      Punchline

7.      Sad Man's Show

8.      The Betrayer

9.      Heroes Of Freedom

1     Better Start To Run

1     The Battle Understood

1     Living Hell

1     Touchdown

U.D.O. Discography

Animal House (1987) | 2. Mean Machine (1989) | 3. Faceless World (1990) | 4. Timebomb (1991) | 5. Solid (1997) | 6. No Limits (1998) | 7. Holy (1999) | 8. Man And Machine (2002) | 9. Thunderball (2004) | 10. Mission No. X (2005) | 11. Mastercutor (2007) | 12. Dominator (2009) | 13. Rev-Raptor (2011) | 14. Steelhammer (2013) | 15. Decadent (2015) | 16. Steelfactory (2018) | 17. We Are 1 (2020) | 18. Game Over (2021) | 19. Touchdown (2023).

And see below our photoset for an exclusive interview with U.D.O. bassist Peter Baltes, talking about his reunion with Udo Dirkschneider, and their collaboration over 4 decades. 


Photo Credit:  Martin Hausler

Dave Blass

Photojournalist - Toronto

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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