U.D.O. Thunderball

It was really only a matter of time before my fave German mini-man released an album called Thunderball, really. Here the former voice of classic Teutonic metallers Accept continues along that band’s path, and his solo path (now nine studio albums strong). And yeah, familiarity is the name of the game here, but when the melodic, fist-pounding anthems sound this solid, who can complain? The title track finds the band picking up the speed they nervously looked away from on their last album, and for a good chunk of this album, the speed stays. So Thunderball (say it out loud without laughing) is classic Dirkschneider, but classic speedy, not classic mid-tempo. Splitting hairs really, as nine albums in there’s no real hope in these guys going off the beaten path. Works for me, as no other band does this kind of thing like U.D.O.: devoid of cheese (for the most part!), they remember what made classic metal good, but bring it forward with a bit of Painkiller-esque thrashing when the time is right. (AFM)