Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday metal legend… Udo Dirkschneider – Happy 60th birthday to you. Since leaving metal legends Accept, Mr Udo Dirkschneider has been very busy with his very own solo project with the very creative band name of U.D.O. Now 60 years into the game, U.D.O has decided to do some special, something to mark the occasion, something to make their fans go wow with. This is Celebrator, a 25 track album to celebrate the anniversary of one of heavy metals most infamous bands and front men, containing rare outtakes that never made any of U.D.O’s albums, remixes of classic songs by the band and tracks with other bands such as Lordi and Hammerfall. This is the ultimate gift for anyone who calls them self an U.D.O fan; even anyone that thinks they are a metal fan, and let’s face it… It can’t be any worse than 2011’s effort Rev-Raptor.
The collaborations are some of the finest moments on this “Best of rare songs” album. As we see our 60 year old friend rock it out with big names such as: Hammerfall, Lordi, Raven and Faktor 2. There is the U.D.O touch on each of these songs and it’s clear that Mr Dirkschneider was a big part in preparing these songs for the album. From the driving anthem that is ‘They Only Come Out At Night’, to the slow-ish thump of ‘Head Over Heels’, U.D.O really does add an extra dimension to these classic metal songs, adding a fresh lick of paint to them and making you realise just how iconic a front man he actually is.
There are tracks on Celebrator such as ‘Bleeding Heart’, ‘Silencer’, ‘Artificialized’ and ‘Metal Gods’ which have never made it onto any U.D.O album; and that is really strange as these songs are some of the catchiest, ballsy rock anthems he has ever wrote. If you gave an U.D.O newbie a copy of this album and a copy of Mastercutor then they would no doubt be able to sing more of the songs on Celebrator. These should have been distributed amongst the albums as these songs are some of the finest songs he has ever written!
Sure, the remixes are good to hear but that’s old news, what’s diverse and fresh about Celebrator is the acoustic version of Accept’s hit ‘Balls to the Wall’ and the orchestral version of ‘Tears of a Clown’. To say these two tracks sound epic is such an understatement and the way they have been done as complete opposite ends of the spectrum to the original was a risk, but they have pulled off and the outcome is two of the most melodic memorable moments on the entire album.
Udo Dirkschneider will always be one of the greatest metal heads to have graced this planet and by just listening to some of the mind blowing songs on Celebrator, you will realise why U.D.O are one of the most important metal bands of the past 30 years. [9/10]