German rock legend Udo Dirkschneider has been speaking about just one of the brand new songs which makes up an important part of the new album ‘Steelhammer’, released this week.
‘Basta Ya’, which features Spanish vocalist (and member of band Warcry) Vitor Garcia in duet with the vocalist, is sung in Spanish and has particular poignancy for Dirkscheider, as he and bass player Fitty Wienhold have lived on the island of Ibiza for some four years.
‘Basta Ya’ is a typical rallying slogan known in all Spanish speaking countries, and although a protest against injustice, is also a cry of motivation to force change. To Dirkschneider, who sees a lack of opportunity for Europe’s young people, it’s an important slogan and topic…
“This is something I really think about a lot”, Dirkschneider says of the reason for writing the song, and singing it in the native language. “I’m a family man myself, a father of two, now adult kids, who both just started their working life. Young people need chances, opportunities to reach something. What’s happening in Spain right now, is a long way away from this. It’s obvious that a whole generation is in fear of losing their livelihood.”
And he’s certainly not wrong… Spain is a country where the effects of the Euro crisis have left their mark unmistakably, with an unemployment rate of 50% among adolescents and a real lack of prospects for young people.
“The youth of Europe is in a unique situation at the moment”, Dirkschneider continues. “They are the first generation to grow up in a united Europe and therefore the first who have to deal with the circumstances this brings. However hard their respective situation might be, they hold the future in their hands.”
A special fan-video has been released to accompany the track, and this can be viewed here…
Consistency and integrity are big words, but in the world of true music are key ingredients for success, especially in the continued career of the man known affectionately as Mr German Metal, Udo Dirkschneider, the vocalist and front man of the band U.D.O.
Ever since the formation of the band in 1987 when Dirkschneider and guitarist Stefan Kaufmann both departed the band Accept, U.D.O. the man (and the band) has continued to put out brilliant records full of emotion, humour, vibrant music and, most importantly, great riffs, but the man continues to defy trends to this day and his music is as successful as ever.
The 1980’s were hugely significant for the then young Dirkschneider. Accept had had their international breakthrough with ‘Breaker’ and followed that with ‘Restless And Wild’ (1982) and ‘Balls To The Wall’ (1983), albums that defined a generation, but as we move ever forwards in 2013, the music of that era has now progressed into an even stronger beast. Yes, Accept are playing once again, but Udo stands apart with his own solo career and Kaufmann and Dirkschneider together were quite rightly more successful now than Accept ever were.
1987 was an important moment, but we’re now in 2013 and another important milestone has arrived. Kaufmann has departed U.D.O., and Udo himself has recruited two new guitarists in Andrey Smirnov and Kasperi Heikkinen, but writing has now passed from Kaufmann to Fitty Weinhold, and new album ‘Steelhammer’ is the first product from this new writing partnership.
In their most consistent run of form since 1992, Kaufmann and Dirkschneider delivered three great records in 5 years. ‘Mastercutor’ (2007) and ‘Dominator’ (2009) both impressed with irrepressible freshness, creativity, and enthusiasm, and 2011s ‘Rev-Raptor’ was one of the band’s best ever, but the sequel, with some of the same characterization but new music, marks another high in the history of U.D.O..
The first single ‘Metal Machine’ answers that all important question as to the new album’s alignment; yes ‘Steelhammer’ does provide the logical stepping stone from the last record, but in its concise rhythms, and machine-gun-like grooves, it’s a perfect complement to the traditional and still outstanding song writing displayed throughout the last two records, whilst bringing an edge to U.D.O. that the singer sums up with one reference to the cover…
“The Metal is back in U.D.O.,” he states emphatically. “The cover artwork speaks volumes about where we’re going and the music matches it!”
With a cover design that is incisive, U.D.O. go for the new, as well as the traditional; new writing team, new production, and new guitar team. And the music follows suit with everything from outstanding self reflective half-ballads, to full on rockers and awesome riffs…
Dirkschneider and the band break new ground yet again but without denying their roots or getting lost in confusing experimentation. The U.D.O. of today are very much professionals, and moving forward with this new line up is necessary, but has resulted in some of the band’s strongest songs in a decade, a full 14 of which make up this album…
In today’s fast moving world it’s always reassuring to know that musicians continue to put out strong, vibrant music. U.D.O. is definitely a collection of such musicians once again, and with Udo himself at the helm, ‘Steelhammer’, like its predecessors, stands testimony to that fact once more.
Band Line Up:
Udo Dirkschneider – Vocals
Andrey Smirnov – Guitar
Kasperi Heikkinen – Guitars
Francesco Jovino – Drums
Fitty Wienhold – Bass
2. A Cry Of A Nation
3. Metal Machine
4. Basta Ya
5. Heavy Rain
6. Devil’s Bite
7. Death Ride
8. King Of Mean
10. Never Cross My Way
11. Take My Medicine
12. Stay True
13. When Love Becomes A Lie
14. Book Of Faith