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UDO | Holy | review | metal | Lollipop

U.D.O.

Holy (Nuclear Blast)
by Craig Regala

"Holy, I'm so fucking Holy." Big claim from U.D.O. (as in Udo, the vocalist), but he's as close as anyone on this grandly articulate piece of traditional metal. Get me around real metalheads and I don't know shit, but like the Supreme Court on pornography, when I see the good stuff, I know it. Yeah, there's an arrogance to equating "good" with what you like, but really, how else do you go about it? The reason for my liking this is the reason I like most things: It rocks and the tunes are strong. The dramatic sequenced keyboard opening (learned from The Who, not Moby) is accompanied by a few pensive, simple guitar chords and a very deep voice intoning "Raised from the glowing ashes of cauldron iron, the Phoenix arose from the sanctum of metal/emerging into the light" the big chords come in, but the pacing doesn't change. Udo casually shows up and shifts gears twice, the release comes when the growled "You know I'm holy/so fucking holy/raise your hands" crunches in. The CD ends with a tune structured around German Cabaret music, and it works. Cool. Jeez, how many guys are still good 20 years in?

If you like traditional metal, the stuff after proto-metal's break with standard hard stomp psych-white blues (that being early Sabbath, Cream, Led Zep) when "metal" as metal proper raised its steely fist (Maiden, Dio/Rainbow, Deep Purple, Scorpions, Priest), this U.D.O. record's for you. Anyone who dug the band this guy sang for, Accept, will probably dig this, seeing as the parameters haven't changed and this is as good as the one Accept record I have within reach, Russian Roulette. Considering it's been damn near 15 years since that dropped in our laps, the changes are most probably ones that would've occurred anyway. It's a bit slower and more measured in its approach. The melodies are very traditional in their emotional impact, not unlike the classical heritage European rockers (Accept and Udo himself are Germans) grafted onto rock's rhythmic prerogative. You know, the kinda thing MSG and UFO wafted out that was so captivating and obviously Euro-soil-owed. No, I don't wanna talk about Ying Yang Malmsteen (reputedly his real name is Ralph Tharg) -- it would be illustrative, but U.D.O. has as much Bon-era AC/DC thunder chowder as Paganini/Bach and whatever other 18th/19th century classical symphonic fuel underlies the Dungeons and Dragons stuff.
(PO Box 43618 Philadelphia, PA 19106)

 


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