• U.D.O. - We Are One




    Released by: AFM Records
    Released on: July 31st, 2020.
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    Following on from 2018’s rock solid but hardly adventurous “Steelfactory” release, German Metal Colonel Udo Dirkschneider cooled his heels for a while. Now he’s back - with his weirdest project yet. But Udo getting kooky isn’t really new.

    We Are One is a continuation of a tangent the man started exploring a few years back when he partnered with the German Navy Orchestra for the Navy Metal Night live album and video. That release saw him reimagine a number of UDO band classics adding in the orchestra. This wasn’t exactly a new idea - rock bands with orchestras is a “thing” that goes all the way back to DEEP PURPLE’s Concerto For Group And Orchestra. But it was weird seeing Udo in a suit and tie playing on a boat with a military orchestra.

    So what is “We Are One” all about? Udo has taken the additional step of now partnering with a German Army orchestra - the Musikkorps der Bundeswehr. All the material is freshly penned by Dirkschneider with contributions from former ACCEPT musicians Stefan Kaufmann and Peter Baltes – as well as the crucial component of writing input from German Armed Force’s composers Guido Rennert and Alexander Reuber.



    The whole thing teeters on the razor’s edge of the sublime and the ridiculous. Opener “Pandemonium” comes storming out of the gates with some epic punch with the orchestra melding seamlessly. The title track is a chugger with some grinding bass and sassy orchestra highlights. But when things get goofy the get EXTRA goofy. “Future Is The Reason Why” opens with a bizarre “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” Casio keyboard flourish before Udo - sounding extra growly - gets double-tracked by what sounds like some sweet female vocals. Then there’s “Children Of The World”. This is what ACCEPT’s “Princess Of The Dawn” would sound like if reimagined by a children’s choir fronted by an evil troll. The orchestra goes fairly over the top here too. The lyrics are heartfelt but absurd. It’s kind of... awesome? “Blindfold (The Last Defender) sounds pretty much like you’d expect it to - a song for a Paul Verhoeven medieval flick with rampaging muddy knights and bloody battles. The rest of the album sticks to the formula. Ball busting metal accentuated with heaping lashes of orchestral bluster. It’s epic. But it’s also on a mission.



    Which brings us to the most important aspect of this thing. That’s right folks. It’s a concept album about world peace and from various comments from Herr Dirkschneider I do believe the man is deadly serious as only an earnest German can be. And that is the genius of this. The whole thing is utterly irony free. Amazing how the nation that brought us two world wars and so much brilliantly aggressive heavy metal can also produce something like this. Yes it’s heavy. Very heavy. But it’s also fighting for addressing climate change and the future of the world’s children!

    I love Udo. Heartily recommended for the adventurous Metal fan. Already certified ACCEPT and Udo fans shouldn’t think twice.