Udo Dirkschneider’s New Covers Collection Is A Rare Set Worth Hearing

Courtesy: Atomic Fire Records

Udo Dirkschneider is among the most well-known and respected front man in the rock and hard rock communities. That is due to his work with Accept and with his namesake band, U.D.O. Considering everything that Dirkschneider has done over the course of his career — between records recorded with each band and even compilations of the bands’ hits — there is still one item that to this point, Dirkschneider has not checked off from his list. That item is a covers collection. This Friday, he will get to check off that item when he releases his first-ever covers collection, My Way. Running 17 songs deep, the compilation is a unique collection of songs, pulling in takes of hit songs from the likes of Rainbow, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Led Zeppelin, Billy Squier, and even Tina Turner. They and their songs are just some of the notable entries in this presentation. The Led Zeppelin, Billy Squier and Motorhead covers stay largely true to their source material while amping them up slightly. The Tina Turner cover is unique in its own right, building on the original and making it even more interesting. Among the more notable covers featured in the collection is that of The Rolling Stones’ timeless classic, ‘Paint It Black.’ This cover will be discussed shortly. The cover of AC/DC’s ‘T.N.T’ is near perfection. It will be discussed a little later. Any review of Dirkshchneider’s new record would be incomplete without a discussion on the cover of ‘My Way,’ the collection’s title track. It will also be discussed later. All three songs noted here are important in their own way to the whole of My Way. When they are considered with all of the record’s other covers, the whole makes My Way a presentation that rock and hard rock fans will find just as appealing as those of Dirkschneider.

My Way, the first-ever covers collection from veteran hard rock front man Udo Dirkschneider, is quite the unique presentation. It is a work that his fans and casual hard rock and rock fans alike will find appealing. That is proven throughout the record in each and every tribute that Dirkschneider and his fellow musicians pay here. Sadly those fellow musicians are not credited in the streaming copy of the record provided to this critic. If names were provided, those musicians would get their due credit. Getting back on the topic at hand, the record offers audiences plenty of notable songs from acts that are themselves equally notable (and some less notable, making for even more engagement and entertainment). One of the most notable of the covers is that of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint It Black.’ The song is known to every rock fan out there. That opening guitar line from Keith Richards and the companion drumming from the late great Charlie Watts are iconic to say the least. Front man Mick Jagger’s slightly gritty vocals add even more to the whole. Where the original song gives audiences an upbeat albeit contemplative work, Dirkschneider and his fellow musicians on the other hand turn the original on its ear by giving it a power metal facelift of sorts. Dirkschneider’s familiar gritty near growling vocal delivery adds its own unique punch to the composition alongside the power metal style and sound presented here. It gives the song a whole new sense that still hits hard in its own fashion while still keeping as true as possible to the source material. It is a take that is sure to impress The Rolling Stones, their fans, and those of Dirkschneider alike. It is just one of the song featured in this set that makes the collection worth hearing. Dirkschneider and company’s take of AC/DC’s ‘T.N.T.’ is another notable addition to the record.

As with the band’s cover of ‘Paint It Black,’ Dirkschneider and company strive to stay true to the source material in its cover of ‘T.N.T.’ while still giving the original song a welcome amped up new treatment. Instead of a power metal approach in this case, the collective instead just gives the song a rich, bluesy almost late 80s hair metal approach (right down to the bombastic guitar solo at the songs’ end) and blends that with the song’s original edge. What’s really interesting here is that Dirkschneider’s trademark vocal delivery style is actually an interesting blend of the vocals of AC/DC’s original front man Bon Scott and his replacement, Brian Johnson. That blend of sounds and styles within his one delivery makes his vocals all the more important to the whole. In turn, it makes the song that much more enjoyable and in turn, the album, too.

As much as the covers of AC/DC’s ‘T.N.T.’ and The Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint It Black’ do to make My Way worth hearing, they are just two of the record’s most notable tracks. No examination of the record would be complete without an examination of the collection’s title track. Originally composed by the team of Jacques Revaux, Gilles Thibaut, and Claude Francois, it was made most popular by American singer Frank Sinatra in 1969 after Paul Anka secured the rights for the song from the group. Ironically it is well-known that Sinatra hated the song the more popular it became because he got tired of having to hear and perform the song. That aside, it still remains a fan favorite to this day among thousands of audiences, apparently including Dirkschneider. One would not think Dirkschneider, a metal head, would find inspiration in Sinatra, but apparently he has some respect for the famed singer and what is one of his most beloved songs. Dirkschneider actually does a surprisingly impressive job here, his more familiar gritty vocal delivery gone in favor of a much more controlled approach and sound. The control that he uses here along with the use of the piano, strings, and subtle time keeping throws directly back to the composition that made Sinatra such a star. Even as the song builds to its peaks in its choruses, Dirkschneider and his fellow musicians exercise so much control, making the song stand out so starkly from all of the other covers featured throughout the record. It honestly serves to create a whole new respect for Dirkschneider in the end because it shows that he is more than just the metal head that so many people think they know. It makes the song a wonderful final accent to this record. When it is considered alongside the other songs examined here and with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole makes the overall presentation a rare covers set that is actually worth hearing if only every occasionally.

My Way, the first ever collection of covers from Udo Dikschneider, is an interesting compilation. It brings together a relatively wide swath of rock and hard rock songs, as well as some more pop oriented content for a while that makes a person rethink what they think they know of the famed former Accept and current U.D.O. front man and his tastes in music. The covers themselves vary in style and sound but still strive to stay as true as possible to their source material. That is made clear through the songs examined here. When those songs are considered along with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole makes My Way a rare covers collection that is actually worth hearing.

My Way is scheduled for release Friday through Atomic Fire Records. More information on the collection is available along with all of Dirkschneider’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.udo-online.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/udoonline

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/udoonline

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Udo Dirkschneider Announces New Covers LP Release Date; Debuts ‘We Will Rock You’ Video

Courtesy: Atomic Fire Records

U.D.O. front man and namesake Udo Dirkschneider is scheduled to release his new covers compilation this spring.

The collection, titled My Way, is scheduled for release April 22 through Atomic Fire Records. In anticipation of the record’s release, Dirkschneider premiered the video for the set’s lead single, a cover of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ Friday.

The video features Dirkschneider as a janitor, a DJ, and a bartender in an empty club. It opens with him in his role as the janitor, singing along to the completely re-imagined take of the song. He eventually makes his way into the club’s main room, where he shows up as the noted other figures.

As noted, the musical arrangement here is a completely re-imagined take of Queen’s timeless classic song. In the case of this presentation, it is presented in the vein of Dirkschneider’s own works. It is certain to have audiences talking.

“Queen have shown how versatile a band can be,” said Dirkschneider. “They have always fascinated me and have been one of my very first favorite bands. Queen inspired me musically and I still enjoy listening to all of their records to this day. I liked the live version of ‘We Will Rock You’ most, which is why I used that one for my cover version.”

My Way features covers of music not just from Queen, but from other well-known acts, such as Motorhead, Led Zeppelin, and Judas Priest, as well as Tina Turner, Billy Squier, and Uriah Heep. The collection’s track listing is noted below.

My Way Track Listing:

1. Faith Healer (Alex Harvey)

2. Fire (Crazy World Of Arthur Brown)

3. Sympathy (Uriah Heep)

4. They Call It Nutbush (Tina Turner)

5. Man On The Silver Mountain (Rainbow)

6. Hell Raiser (The Sweet)

7. No Class (Motörhead)

8. Rock And Roll (Led Zeppelin)

9. The Stroke (Billy Squier)

10. Paint It Black (Edit Version)

11. He’s A Woman, She’s A Man (The Scorpions)

12. T.N.T. (AC/DC)

13. Jealousy (Frankie Miller)

14. Hell Bent For Leather (Judas Priest)

15. We Will Rock You (Queen)

16. Kein Zurück (Wolfsheim)

17. My Way (Frank Sinatra)

A limited edition vinyl pressing of My Way will be available for Record Store Day (April 23). The grey marbled vinyl pressing will include a signed photo card and compilation of artists signed to Atomic Fire Records on CD.

Additionally, a limited number of 7″ vinyls featuring ‘My Way’ and ‘Kein Zuruch’ is scheduled for release March 18 to help promote the new collection. Pre-orders are open. the vinyl is limited to only 700 copies.

More information on Dirkschneider’s new record is available along with all of his latest news at:

Website: https://www.udo-online.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/udoonline

Twitter: https://twitter.com/udoonline

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Game Over’ Will Leave Audiences Hoping The Album Is Not The End Game For U.D.O.

Courtesy: AFM Records

Veteran hard rock band U.D.O. is scheduled to release its latest album Friday in the form of Game Over.  The band’s 18th album, its title is a reference to everything going on in the world today. That is according to information made available about the record. This album is everything that audiences have come to expect from the group.  That is exhibited clearly through the record’s musical arrangement, which will be addressed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical content does just as much to prove the noted statement.  They will be discussed a little later.  The sequencing of that collective content rounds out the most important of the record’s elements.  It will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Game Over a record that hopefully is not the end game for U.D.O.

U.D.O.’s forthcoming  album, Game Over, is a powerful new offering from the band that will appeal equally to the band’s established audiences and to hard rock fans alike.  That is proven clearly in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question exhibit more of the band’s familiar power metal presentations from beginning to end.  The comparisons to works from the likes of the band’s fellow power/hard rock acts Judas Priest and Saxon are unavoidable.  At the same time, the arrangement featured in the album’s single, ‘Kids and Guns’ is just as easily compared to works from AC/DC.  ‘Empty Eyes’ meanwhile offers audiences something with a little more of a modern hard rock edge while still incorporating the band’s more familiar sound and stylistic approach.  Meanwhile, a song, such as ‘Like A Beast’ immediately conjures thoughts of front man Udo Dirckschneider’s time with Accept with its fiery guitar riffs, solid time keeping, rich bass work and vocals from Dirkschneider himself.  Simply put, the musical content featured throughout Game Over offers plenty for audiences to enjoy because of its diversity.  There’s something old and something new.  There’s even something “blue” (so to speak) in ‘Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye.’  Yes, that awful pun was intended, but it is blue in its mood.  So to that point, there is some truth there, all joking aside.  Again, this all does well to help exhibit the diversity featured throughout the record’s musical body.  That diversity is just a part of what makes the album stand out.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content add their own appeal to the presentation, too.

The lyrical themes featured throughout Game Over are almost as diverse as the record’s musical arrangements.  Audiences get an all too familiar arena anthem in the album’s lead single, ‘Metal Never Dies.’  As the song’s title infers, this is a defiant anthem about the immortality of metal.  It is right up there alongside AC/DC’s famed anthem, ‘Rock ‘N Roll Will Never Die.’  Dirkschneider even goes so far as to sing that line in the song’s chorus after noting in the lead verse, “Back when I took my first breath/The days were dark and gray/No belief/No hope/OR had nothing to say/Then came the days of changes/I realized the truth/Woke me up/Taught me how to fight/Breaking chains/Let heavy thunder through the night/Look up/See the sign/’Cause metal never dies/Stand in line/’Cause metal never dies.”  This is a straight forward to the power of metal in making life better for its fans.  He goes on in the song’s second verse to note his travels around the world because of the world and that “I believed/I had something to say…It was my dream come true.”  This proud tribute to metal and hard rock is a wonderful addition to the album, lyrically speaking, that is certain to become a fan favorite.  It is just one example of the powerful role of the album’s lyrical content.  Dirkschneider and company get socially conscious in ‘Kids and Guns’ and in ‘Time Control.’  The prior is a commentary about the dangers of letting young people get access to guns (the daily headlines since 1999 are proof of that danger).  The latter is a familiar commentary about taking better care of the planet.  This is a theme that was just as prominent in the band’s most recent album, We Are One (2020).  He pointed out during a recent interview that caring better for the planet is not limited to environmentalism, but to the need for peace, too.  That is all presented in ‘Time Control.’  That theme seems to be exhibited in ‘Empty Eyes’ just as much.  It is just another way in which the diversity in the album’s lyrical themes shows itself.  Between these songs and the others that make up the rest of the record’s body, it should be clear at this point that the lyrical themes featured in this record and their diversity are just as important to the album’s presentation as their equally diverse musical arrangements.  Keeping in mind the overall diversity of the album’s content, the sequencing thereof puts the finishing touch to the presentation.

Game Over’s sequencing is so important to note because on one level, it ensures that the energy in the album’s arrangements keeps flowing solidly from beginning to end.  There is one breakpoint just past the album’s midpoint in the form of ‘Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye.’  It makes a good chance for listeners to catch their breath before the energy picks right back up after that point and on to the album’s end.  On another level, the sequencing ensures that the noted diversity in the arrangements is just as evident even in the subtle ways in which the arrangements change in their stylistic approaches.  Those items collectively show that time and thought went into the sequencing in this way to ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  Similarly, the sequencing also ensures the lyrical themes change up from one to the next just enough, too.  That noted change ensures – along with the changes in the album’s musical arrangements – listeners’ engagement and entertainment just as much.  All things considered here, this content shows even more, how much time and thought went into the album’s sequencing.  Keeping that in mind along with the importance of the content itself, the whole leaves Game Over another solid presentation from U.D.O. and one more of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

U.D.O.’s forthcoming album, Game Over is an impressive new offering from the veteran hard rock band.  Its success comes in part through its musical arrangements.  The arrangements offer audiences plenty of familiar sounds and stylistic approaches.  They also give audiences something a little more modern here and there.  The whole makes the album’s musical arrangements well worth hearing.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements is just as important as that musical content.  That is because it is just as diverse as the musical arrangements.  The themes are also just as accessible as the record’s musical arrangements.  The sequencing of the collective content rounds out the album’s most important elements.  That is because it brings together the diversity in the overall content.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Game Over.  All things considered, they will leave audiences glad to know that the album is not the end game for U.D.O.

Game Over is scheduled for release Friday through AFM Records. More information on the album is available along with all of U.D.O.’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.udo-online.de

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/udoonline

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Metal Purists, U.D.O., Accept Fans Alike Will Enjoy Dirkschneider & The Old Gang’s Debut Record

Courtesy: AFM Records

When U.D.O. released its then latest album, We Are One last year, that record proved to be one of the highest musical points for the metal masses.  For all that record did to make 2020 at least a little better amid the negatives caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it apparently ended up having a latent effect.  It led front man Udo Dirkschneider and some of his fellow former Accept members to get together to craft a spinoff record of sorts in the form of Arising.  Released late last month through AFM Records under the moniker of Dirkschneider & The Old Gang, the three song record that offers engagement and entertainment for a wide range of audiences.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The record’s lyrical content adds its own appeal to the presentation and will be examined a little later.  The record’s production puts the final touch to its presentation and brings everything full circle.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, they make the record another of the best of this year’s new EPs.

Dirkschneider & The Old Gang’s recently released record, Arising, is a positive new presentation from the group, which also features former Accept members Peter Baltes (bass) and Stefan Kaufmann (guitar) alongside Sinner/U.D.O. guitarist Mathias Dieth and Dirkschneider’s song Sven on drums (U.D.O., Dirkschneider).  Manuela Bibert adds her own powerful vocals to the mix to round out the group.  According to information provided, the record’s genesis came about ahead of the creation of U.D.O.’s latest album, We Are One (2020).  The information cites Baltes as stating that ‘Where The Angels Fly,’ one of the record’s three featured tracks, was originally expected for inclusion in We Are One, but ended up not making the finale.  That song was re-worked, leading to its presentation here and the group’s birth.  The musical arrangement featured in the new, re-worked take of Where The Angels Fly’ and the record’s two other songs, ‘Face of a Stranger’ and ‘Every Heart Is Burning’ serve to form the record’s foundation.  Each work presents a familiar mix of vintage hard rock/metal and power metal.  Each arrangement also boasts its own identity separate and unique from that of its counterparts.  The song that started it all opens with a steady but contemplative guitar line from Dieth and steady time keeping from the younger Dirkschneider.  Instead of his regular gruff vocals, the elder Dirskschneider actually offers a cleaner sound here that will surprise many listeners.  Just as surprising is the result when those clean vocals are set alongside those of Bibert.  The harmony created through that pairing against the rest of the group’s works (especially in the chorus) lends itself to the operatic style work that Queen crafted for the Flash Gordon movie in 1981.  One could even make subtle comparison to works from Sabaton here in listening closely to the whole. 

Similarly, ‘Face of a Stranger’ also features an arrangement whose whole is at least somewhat comparable to works from Sabaton.  The thing here though, is that such comparison is far more subtle.  In the case of this song, the arrangement shows more leanings toward the heavier works of Def Leppard.  It pairs that influence along with Udo’s own work with U.D.O. to make the whole a unique, heavy work in its own right that is just as certain to keep listeners engaged and entertained.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Every Heart is Burning’ is more pure guitar-based metal.  The vocal layering that creates the choral effect, the guitar, bass, and drums is just pure 80s metal, and not the hair metal stuff, either.  It is as pure as metal can get.  It will have any listener chanting/singing along, pumping his/her fist in the air.  No doubt if U.D.O. takes this one on the road during its next tour, it will be a sure live hit.  Considering that and the arrangements featured in the record’s other two songs, the whole makes clear why the record’s musical content is so important to its presentation.  That content is only a part of what makes Arising so appealing.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements adds to that appeal.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Face of a Stranger’ does well to support that statement.  This song’s lyrical theme is so interesting in that it comes across as someone having an identity crisis of sorts.  The very mention of not recognizing the person “in the mirror” early on in the song makes that clear.  The later note of “Fading oceans of memories/Bring tears of anguish and shame/A song of vanishing melodies/Where days and nights sound the same” points even more in that direction.  It comes across as someone who realizes who and what he has been and is realizing the error of his ways as he knows he has to change.  This is even as Dirkschneider sings about flashbacks and past lives earlier in the song.  It all really comes across more as an allegory that uses the matter of past lives more in a lyrical sense, like the person the subject was, was that past life.  This is all just this critic’s interpretation of course.  Regardless, this lyrical content is certain to generate its own share of discussion and insight.  To that end, it shows in its own way, the importance of the record’s lyrical content.

The lyrical theme featured in ‘Every Heart is Burning’ does its own share to show the importance of the noted content.  The very way in which the lyrics were crafted here read like something right out of an old fantasy tale.  Of course, the song is not that.  Rather, the literary devices that are used here seem to point to its own story of someone trying to be better.  That would go along with the apparent overall theme of Arising especially in the line stating, “The billows of disgorging sin/That wrap him like a shroud/The wicked have no peace within/Their wailings shrill and loud.”  That mention of the wicked apparently not getting into the song’s subject as he disgorges sin points to the subject trying to expel all of that negative from himself.  This as Dirkschneider and company sing in the song’s chorus that “Every heart is burning/But a soul will never die/Every pain returning/Like a lightning raging high” points to that inference even more.  In its own way, that chorus seems to state that while pain will always be there, the soul (that good) will never die.  In turn, the attempt to eliminate that pain and negative will go on, too.  Again, this is just this critic’s own interpretation.  Hopefully it is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  Regardless, the very way in which the song’s lyrical content was crafted pairs with the discussion that it is sure to generate and shows in the end once more why the EP’s lyrical content is so important.  It proves in its own way that the EP’s lyrical content will engage audiences just as much as the record’s musical arrangements. 

Much the same can be noted of the lyrical theme featured in ‘Where The Angels Fly’ that has been noted of its counterparts in this record.  In the case of ‘Where The Angels Fly,’ this song seems to emotionally deep.  Again, this is just this critic’s interpretation, but it almost comes across as imagining what the death of a great person must do even to the angels.  This as Dirkschneider sings in the song’s lead verse and chorus, “On the horizon/Where the sea meets night/I see the face of a warrior/We hear them crying/In the fading light/A shadow falls on a foreigner/they long for the distance/They reach for the sky/At the end of a rainbow/Risin’ up high/Where the angels fly.”  Whoever that man who died was obviously was respected.  He adds in the song’s second verse, “They fall in silence/With a saddening sound/Ad all that’s left’s a memorial/The skies still wonder/Neither lost nor found/Remaining humble and glorious.”  Again, this is so mournful, yet also shows reverence.  This one is difficult to decipher even with lyrics to reference.  Baltes is cited in the previously noted press release as saying this song was “withheld with a heavy heart” from We Are One and “too strong to let it gather dust in a drawer.”  That is about the only hint that is given as to the song’s lyrical theme.  Considering that, this song’s lyrical content is sure to create just as much discussion among audiences as its counterparts.  To that end, it shows once more, the importance of this record’s lyrical content.  When the overall lyrical content is considered along with the EP’s musical content, the whole collectively makes for plenty of reason for audiences to hear this record.  Even with all of this in mind, it is not the end of the record’s most important items.  The record’s production brings everything together and completes the presentation.

The production that went into Arising is important because it plays directly into the record’s general effect.  As has been noted in the discussions on the songs’ musical arrangements, there is a lot going on in each presentation.  From the dual vocals to the powerful guitars to the richness of the drums and bass, each composition incorporates a lot of sound.  That means that it would have been easy for the performers to overpower one another even accidentally.  Thankfully, Kaufmann (who produced the record) paid attention to each performer’s part, making sure to balance each line in each song.  In listening to each song, there is no doubt that such work had to have been time consuming.  It paid off, though.  That is because each work is so fully immersive and powerful in its own right, leaving audiences fulfilled just in that aspect.  At the same time, even the vocals are not washed out, so it is at least relatively easy to decipher most of the lyrical content in each song.  When this is considered along with the content and its impact, the whole makes the record a welcome presentation for metal purists, U.D.O., fans, and those of Accept.

Dirkschneider & The Old Gang’s debut record, Arising is an impressive first outing from the group.  Its appeal comes in part through its musical content, which is a solid mix of pure, classic guitar-based metal and power metal.  The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s makes for its own engagement and entertainment.  That is thanks to the way in which it is crafted and its seeming messages.  That content is certain to generate plenty of discussion among audiences.  The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  It balances the vocals and instrumentation expertly in each song.  The result is a record that is not only relatively easy to understand in terms of lyrics but well-balanced in its instrumentation.  The result there is a positive general effect.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the record.  All things considered, they make Arising a positive addition to this year’s field of new EPs. 

Arising is available now through AFM Records.  More information on the record is available at https://www.facebook.com/dirkschneiderandtheoldgang.  

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.