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Faceless World

U.D.O. - Faceless World ©1990 BMG
1. Heart of Gold
2. Blitz of Lightning
3. System of Life
4. Faceless World
5. Stranger
6. Restricted Area
7. Living on a Frontline
8. Trip to Nowhere
9. Born to Run
10. Can't Get Enough
11. Unspoken Words
12. Future Land

Udo Dirkschneider has actually done quite well for himself, all things considered. Yes, it's easy to poke fun at his stature (and yes, I did contemplate taking a cheap shot, but he'd probably retort, "How's the weather up there, four eyes?", which would assuredly put me back in place) and his choice in concert attire, but his career has lasted quite a bit longer than yours at the local 7-11. By his third solo album in 1990, it was quite obvious he had a lot more going for him than his bandmates in Accept. Granted, U.D.O. plays a style of traditional, Camaro-based metal that I generally try to avoid, but somehow this particular album is enjoyable enough to warrant an occasional listen. There's little in the way of innovation and everything about Faceless World is standard metal issue, but the songwriting is generally good. Predictable, orthodox, but enjoyable. As you might expect, Udo's singing (such as it is) takes the forefront, but despite his limited delivery, he can sell a song's melody with the best of 'em. The backing band injects some big choruses, while laying down the type of showy guitar solos you'd expect from this sort of album. U.D.O. certainly must have had the stature in Germany to get only the top notchiest of musicians for the studio. However, I occasionally am befuddled by drummer Stefan Schwarzmann, who delivers a backbeat with the precision of a metronome yet has some oddly stiff fills and transitions. It's very possible he was a cyborg, lacking the human touch that caused the rigid drumming.

Although the slower, more brooding songs such as the title track are somewhat weak, Faceless World is a satisfying release featuring classic heavy metal delivered by one of the more notable voices of the 80s. I doubt that you'd get a hip, cutting edge metal fan to admit to liking this, of course, but for those who yearn for big arena sized classic metal, you can't go wrong here.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/2010

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Man And Machine

U.D.O. - Man And Machine ©2002 SPV
1. Man And Machine
2. Private Eye
3. Animal Instinct
4. The Dawn Of The Gods
5. Dancing With An Angel
6. Silent Cry
7. Network Nightmare
8. Hard To Be Honest
9. Like A Lion
10. Black Heart
11. Unknown Traveller

Udo Dirkschneider has been around awhile and it's starting to show. However, it should be stated right here and now that he's aged much better than fellow countrymen Scorpions. Granted, that's not saying a whole lot, though. And in Udo's two decades or so of making hard rock music, he hasn't changed a whole lot. He's kept essentially the same musical approach intact and Man and Machine is just another slice out of the same pie.

On one side, if you like the fist pumping heavy metal with all sorts of anthemic tunes and the prerequisite power ballad, Man and Machine is a pretty safe purchase. If you still maintain a "shorty-longback" haircut (a.k.a. "mullet"), drive a Camaro and tell stories at the bar about concert experiences in 1984, the recommendation becomes even more enthusiastic for you. I wouldn't, however, aim too many of today's sophisticated youths in the direction of U.D.O. as I'm sure screams of laughter might ensue. Man and Machine, apart from the very good production, is very dated. This is music for when AC/DC ruled boomboxes and cassettes were the main way of transporting your favorite tunes. And admittedly, a few of these songs aren't too bad at all. I just feel a little embarrassed when someone catches it coming out of my open car window. But it's not as embarrassing as listening to Udo, with his signature rasp, try to woo Doro Pesch on "Dancing With an Angel".

If your tastes still include a love for old world heavy metal and arena hard rock, this is a good little CD. I suspect that outside of that sphere, Man and Machine represents a long gone era that will stay in the past for most of today's audience.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2004

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