U.D.O. - Mission No. X
AFM Records
Heavy Metal
12 songs (47'58)
Release year: 2005
U.D.O, AFM Records
Reviewed by Marty
Major event
Keeping with their recent pace of one new CD a year, U.D.O. presents us with their new album (their tenth) entitled Mission No. X. It doesn't seem all that long ago that I reviewed last year's Thunderball; an album that was received very well by the fans and saw U.D.O. finally delivering a full album of Accept-like tracks not only in sound but quality as well. It may seem obvious that U.D.O. is going to sound like Accept with Udo Dirkschneider on vocals and the writing skills of guitarist Stefan Kauffmann (fellow Accept alumnus) but most of the U.D.O. albums have been plagued by trying to side-step the ghost of Accept past. Every one of their albums has great songs but overall, the quality of the song writing has only begun to approach the classic Accept era with last year's Thunderball and now with Mission No. X. There's a new drummer in the ranks with Francesco Jovino taking over from Lorenzo Milani who left for personal reasons and originally, this album was to be released in late spring or early summer. The Accept reunion shows that happened across Europe this past summer resulted in the label delaying the release until this past September.

There are usually few surprises with a new U.D.O. album and upon first listen, they have the same sort of overall sound as previous albums before. With Mission No. X, I had the same feeling but after repeated listens, the quality of the song writing really comes to light and even though I thought Thunderball was a great album and a worthy companion to the Accept legacy, I think that overall, Mission No. X is even better still. After the opening instrumental The Embarkation, the title track gets things going with a trudging and driving beat that is very catchy and with some tasteful and thematic lead guitar. Up next is 24/7, the lead-off single from the album. Riff based and with a big catchy "gang" style chorus, it really has the classic Accept Metal Heart album sound all over it. Mean Streets continues with the mid tempo "romping" metal style of Accept with Primecrime On Primetime having a huge "bouncy" and march-like riff with a great strong chorus. The obligatory slower power ballad quota is fulfilled by Eye Of The Eagle. Even with Udo's razor-sharp vocal style, he shows that can do slower, quieter and more serious material. Up to this point, most of the tracks have been mid tempo or slower, heavier ones but that all comes crashing to a halt with Shell Shock Fever. Holy shit man...I haven't heard anything this fast and with such hammering double bass drumming since Accept tracks like Fast As A Shark and Losers And Winners (Balls To The Wall album). In the greatest classic Accept style, this track is awesome!! Stone Hard continues with another heavy and "bouncy" guitar riff and with the big "gang' chorus again. Breaking Down The Borders, although not quite as fierce as Shell Shock Fever, is another very fast and driving classic Accept style track. Cry Soldier Cry sees the boys getting very serious with another power ballad although this one has a haunting melodic quality and deals with the horrors of war and not only the toll it takes on those doing the fighting but to the families they leave behind. A very strong statement is put forth with this song and even though it's not heavy metal, tracks like this are sometimes the ones that standout and really make you stop and think. The album ends with a couple of great rockers in Way Of Life and the wild and furious Mad For Crazy. Killer and fast, the charging and muted riff style and speed will bring a big smile to fans of the 80's era of Accept.

Another great album from the metal masters and like I stated earlier, the strength in the song writing over previous efforts really gives this album an extra edge over many of their other ones. It seems a little strange (but possibly calculated) that the first half of the album is very mid tempo but after Eye Of The Eagle, 4 of the next 6 tracks are very fast and charging heavy. Tracks like Shell Shock Fever are usually the type of song that U.D.O. uses as album openers to really grab the listener. This time, they get your attention with the songs and the memorable choruses and just when you start thinking that you really haven't heard any blistering and fast tracks, they save it all for a huge barrage at the end. It's a very different approach to arranging the running order of the tracks but it works!! The guitar sound is massive and with thick muscular riffs, U.D.O. has delivered and album the sounds like something that could've been sandwiched somewhere between Restless And Wild, Balls To The Wall and Metal Heart. I'll admit, as huge an Accept and U.D.O. fan that I am, U.D.O. has released a few duds as far as albums over the years and purists may see the continuation of U.D.O. as a pale comparison to the mighty Accept. Both Udo and Wolf Hoffmann stated that the summer Accept reunion was a one-off venture and that there were no plans for any new Accept material. With Udo Dirkschneider and Stefan Kauffmann at the helm of U.D.O., the last couple of albums sound like they are just starting to hit their stride and hopefully that means that lots of great material is on the horizon. Much of the band's live set still consists of classic Accept material and with great new material such as found on this new album, they can finally build a legacy of their own as well as keeping the Accept legacy alive for many years to come.

Killing Songs :
24/7, Mean Streets, Shell Shock Fever, Stone Hard, Breaking Down The Borders and Mad For Crazy
Marty quoted 85 / 100
Jeff quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by U.D.O. that we have reviewed:
U.D.O. - Decadent reviewed by Alex and quoted 75 / 100
U.D.O. - Dominator reviewed by Marty and quoted 88 / 100
U.D.O. - Mastercutor reviewed by Marty and quoted 80 / 100
U.D.O. - Thunderball reviewed by Marty and quoted 86 / 100
U.D.O. - Nailed To Metal - The Missing Tracks reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
To see all 8 reviews click here
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