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INHUMAN REMNANTS
Inattentional Blindness
JILL HUGHES KIRTLAND
Not Just Tits In A Corset: Celebrating Women In Metal
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Hear Me
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Melana Chasmata
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Empire Of The Undead
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HARDWARES

U.D.O.

Steelhammer

(AFM)

Reviewed by : Mark Gromen
Rating : 8.5

Still have to look at that album title twice, every time I see it, my 80s afflicted mind having been raised on German imports from Steamhammer… anyway, this is the latest collection of 14 songs (digi includes on additional tune: ‘Shadows Come Alive’) from former ACCEPT frontman, Udo Dirkschneider, and his continuously evolving line-up of merrymakers. Gone is longtime sidekick / drummer-turned-guitarist Stefan Kaufmann. Enter Andrey Smirnov and Finland’s Kasperi Heikkinen (just a coincidence both surnames are suspiciously close to alcoholic beverages?), although only the Russian guitarist plays on the album. Hats off to Udo, for finally getting the message. The last few albums have all but avoided a full out speedsters, and the few available in the last decade have been buried well down in the running order, after the band virtually lulled one to sleep with a mid-tempo sameness. Long overdue, the opening title track corrects that lopsided balance sheet! Perhaps the reemergence of his old bandmates has added some urgency to the diminutive Genreal’s agenda. In contrast, ‘A Cry Of The Nations’, which follows, is the paint-by-numbers exaggerated stomp that’s permeated Herr Dirkschneider’s solo efforts for far too long. First single ‘Metal Machine’ returns to a more lively beat (and guitar run), even employing the odd tolling bell. Better yet, in terms of velocity, is ‘Basta Ya’, albeit sung entirely in Italian. ‘Heavy Rain’ is a short (2:25) gravel throated Dirkschneider ballad backed by piano and symphonic strings. Synthesizers (or are those Turbo style guitar synths?) can be heard throughout ‘Devil’s Bite’. Teutonic double kick drum driven melodies are on tap for the high octane ‘Death Ride’. ‘Never Cross My Way’ and to a lesser extent, ‘Take My Medicine’ are simplistic, old school gems, while ‘King Of Mean’ shuffles by on an infectious, spirited groove. Bashing the ride cymbal to kick off ‘Stay True’, it’s another galloping number. However, the album ends on something of a down note, including the baldly ‘When Love Becomes A Lie’ and the heavy closer, a progressive (jazzy early on), spoken word delivered take on Peer Gynt, aka ‘Book Of Faith’, No matter, will just turn it off early on future playbacks.



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