|U.D.O. - 'Live In Sofia' (AFM Records)|
|Written by Matt Phelps|
|Saturday, 19 January 2013 02:30|
Accept make my nipples stiff and that's a fact I don't share with everybody. The truth of the matter is that sometimes when I'm home alone I like nothing better than firing up some 'Kaizoku-Ban' and kicking back with a hot bottle of baby oil as my speakers spunk out more testosterone than a Blue Oyster glory hole. So when former Accept frontman Udo Dirkschneider's latest release 'Live In Sofia' dropped like a Focke-Wulf into URHQ it was essential and relatively easy for me (being already oiled and pliant) to wrestle it away from my fellow leather clad Uber boys.
Delving deep into both the U.D.O and Accept back catalogues and recorded with a supporting cast of several thousand combat rockers the fiery atmosphere of this two hour plus show really is captured rather magnificently. Opening with the title track of 2011's 'Rev Raptor' a short fuse is lit for an explosive recounting of Udo's finest, most riff heavy moments. 'Dominator' overpowers fast afterwards alongside an equally devastating 'Thunderball', all three of the opening salvo going to show with ease that Udo's post millennium material is every bit as strong as the eighties heyday output he's probably best known for.
That first step back into his former band's greatest hits comes soon after though with 'Screaming For A Love Bite' leaving necks bruised and metal hearts pounding. 'Heart Of Gold' from the third U.D.O album 'Faceless World' is another perfect example of why the camouflaged version of Angry Anderson so easily made that oft fraught leap from successful old band to successful new band. The tempo slows with the glowing pulse of 'I Give As Good As I Get' but the metal blade soon swings back up to speed as the band 'Break The Rules' with another hard as iron riff topped off with trademark snarling, biting vocals.
Some of the elongated audience participation parts really are "had to have been there" moments that just don't translate too well onto the audio release. Like Vince Neil's Police Academy career they really should have been left on the cutting room floor. They do however open a window to the level of devotion that swells with the ranks of Udo's faithful followers but it's a view that the accompanying DVD (which I do not have) will be far better placed to convey. This really is my only gripe with 'Live In Sofia' though, the statically charged environment is all too regularly dampened by the drawn out sections, the flow of electricity breaking way too many times for my liking. 'Princess Of The Dawn', stretched to a near excruciating eleven minutes, certainly does not benefit. Equally the surplus to requirements 'Drum Solo' does nothing to enhance 'Living On A Frontline' and the patience testing 'Kokopelli (Guitar Solo)' sees more luke warm noodling than the buffet car of a Bullet train.
But the hefty wedge of timeless Accept classics with their huge wrecking ball riffs that feature prominently during the second half of the album more than make up for the more tedious sections, although 'Balls To The Wall' does suffer a bit of a stretch grinding away to well over ten minutes. 'Up To The Limit', 'I'm A Rebel' and the incendiary 'Burning' which caps off the triumphant twenty three track marathon all go to give this impressive slice of double live U.D.O a really solid old school vibe much akin to the Scorpions 'World Wide Live' or Maiden's 'Live After Death'. For both long time fans and the, as yet, uninitiated 'Live In Sofia' provides the perfect platform for diving into a musical legacy that spans well over thirty years.