U.D.O. – Thunderball

U.D.O. - Thunderball


Release date: March 29, 2004

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”These boots are made for walking”, Dave Mustaine used to sing. Some things in life are just destined to have a certain function, and some people are just destined to do certain things. When some German couple, more than likely, decided to perform a bit of “the good ol’ in-and-out” some 40-50 years ago or so, they didn’t know what the final outcome would be. What they – or she, more precisely – spat out was a human incarnation of the bulldog, a silver-haired powerhouse clad in leather from top to toe (I’m sure he already had the image thing going). And bearing the name Udo Dirkschneider, he HAD to make a living in the name of Heavy Metal. Just imagine – “Welcome to doctor Moeller’s office, this is Udo Dirkschneider speaking” … no way! This man is made of, and for, Metal.

The reason for this lesson in German fertility culture is the latest effort from the little ‘un. It’s the best Heavy Metal album I’ve heard in a very long time, to put it short. The overall quality of the songs is top notch, with very few exceptions, and the production and performance is up there too. “Blind Eyes” is the only track I find a bit bland, as its balladish structure fails to escape the very evident cliches that modern-day power ballads often portray. The synth strings are more funny than emotional, but actually Udo’s vocals suit the calmer format very well, just as Lemmy sounds excellent in Motörhead’s slower moments.

The rest of the album is packed full of quality Metal, though. The melodic and extremely catchy “The Land of the Midnight Sun” and “The Magic Mirror” are for me definite highlights – those choruses at least help to show this writer the meaning of life, and riffs like the main one in “The Magic Mirror” will trim the calories off even the most meatball-like Germans amongst us. Also, the heavier numbers rock – the title track is the musical equivalent to the Luftwaffe, and albeit the opening is a bit vague, “Pull the Trigger” is destined to be a festival favorite this summer, together with “Hell Bites Back”. “The Arbiter”, together with “The Bullet and the Bomb”, makes for the album’s mid-tempo thunder machines delivery, crushing to dust any obstacle in its way. “Tough Luck II” features some cool – almost Queensrÿche-ish – guitar harmonies, without a doubt orchestrated by guitarist (and producer/former Accept-member/general mastermind) Stefan Kaufmann.

I’m not too crazed about the guitar work elsewhere in the album, though, or at least not with the lead work. In terms of riffs, there are more jewels here than in Snoop Doggy Dog’s teeth, but the solos, although adequate, tend to be a bit straightforward and obvious. The rhythm section, with bassist Fitty Weinhold (can’t you just imagine the Lederhosen when hearing such names?) and the band’s Latino alibi, Lorenzo Milani on drums, is a damn tight and groovy one. The latter is a trained jazz and Latin drummer, and manages to make the very simple beats swing more than five Playboy Playmates coupled with a German-Metal-fan full of Viagra!

I’ve yet to mention “Trainride in Russia”, the band’s tribute to their very faithful Russian fan base. This is accordion-heaven deluxe, and believe me, it’s damn impossible to stay seated when this song flows from your stereo. Drummer Lorenzo got laid too, the song says, but for me this whole album is enough stimulation for some time. Udo rocks!


  1. Thunderball
  2. The Arbiter
  3. Pull The Trigger
  4. Fistful Of Anger
  5. The Land Of The Midnight Sun
  6. Hell Bites Back
  7. Trainride in Russia
  8. The Bullet And The Bomb
  9. The Magic Mirror
  10. Tough Luck II
  11. Blind Eyes


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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