Written by Alex Stojanovic
Make The Move
Keeper Of My Soul
In The Heat Of The Night
Raise The Game
Blood On Fire
Hungry & Angry
One Heart One Soul
A Bite Of Evil
Rose In The Desert
Release Date: August 31, 2018 Label: AFM Records
Udo Dirkschneider - Vocals Andrey Smirnov - Guitars Fitty Wienhold - Bass Sven Dirkschneider - Drums
Right at the gate, we're greeted by a soaring and compelling guitar melody, followed by speed metal style riffing in "Tongue Reaper". However, the track isn't as compelling as "Speeder" on the last album. Vocally, Udo sounds as strong as ever. Andrey Smirnov might be on his own in the guitar department this time around, but he still lays down an abundance of solid riffs and solos. The opening riff to "Make The Move" sounds like the band are tipping their hats off to Scorpions. The tone and style is so similar to Rudolf Schenker's, I was honestly kind of expecting to hear Klaus Meine start singing afterwards.
The Iron Maiden influence with the guitar harmonies is strong on "Rising High" and "Eraser". The former contains one of the album's biggest melodic moments. The riff that both leads into and comes out of the solo section gives you a strong urge to sing the melody, and if I may add, it evokes heavy emotion as well. Almost like a soundtrack to a very uplifting scene in a movie. Of course, you can't have a U.D.O. album without a few straightforward riff-driven headbangers. "In The Heat Of The Night", "Raise The Game", "Blood On Fire", "One Heart One Soul" and "A Bite Of Evil" are just a few that will get heads moving and feet tapping. There's also no doubt that the choruses will get you chanting along at first listen, as U.D.O. choruses are designed to do.
Steelfactory is another very "meat and potatoes" metal album, as it doesn't stray away from the sound U.D.O. have followed for the last 30 years. With that said, I found the album to be a pretty predictable listen. Following the same formula for most of or all of your career can result in songs sounding rehashed sometimes with recycled riffs and melodies, and this album unfortunately suffers from a few moments like that. I don't go into a new U.D.O. album for the first time expecting to be surprised anymore, but I usually come out fully satisfied because this is one of my go-to metal styles.
With thirteen songs, the album does become a bit tiresome and tends to sound a little repetitive at times. The filler tracks obviously don't impress, but they don't depress either. Who knows, the fillers may grow on me after a few more listens. While I didn't find Steelfactory as interesting as Decadent, there's still enough great material on here to satisfy your metal appetite if you crave straightforward traditional metal. If a few tracks were left off, the album would've stood out much more. I think it's safe to say that there's much more music to come from U.D.O. in the future, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Highs: Very crisp production and big hooks.
Lows: The album is a pretty predictable listen.
Final Rating: 7.5/10
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