If anything Udo Dirkschneider is a class act. He's sticks to what he knows and delivers classic melodic heavy metal of the highest order. He keeps his fans happy, touring often and nearly everywhere, including one of his favorite places, Russia and the surrounding republics. He also has balls of iron. Udo and band were the only metal band touring Ukraine in March 2014 when that total asshole Russian President Valdimir Putin was invading and annexing Crimea. I'm sure for the Ukrainian metalheads it was a welcome distraction.
Steelhammer Live From Moscow, a DVD and double CD set, offers a full concert recorded in Moscow in September 2013. Since the audio CDs have the same material, we'll consider the DVD recording alone, and it's pretty darn terrific. The first and best thing about this show is the minimalist approach Udo takes to the live stage presence and recording. The stage is plain: lights, amplification, musicians, then play. The camera shots offer plenty of Udo, of course, but also tight shots on others, especially for the guitar solos. But there's also wide shots of the band and the crowd. Simply put, the editing was well done. The second best thing is how good the sound is, clear, crisp, and precise. I hope this isn't because of something done afterwards in studio.
There's a fine selection of songs as well. Of course, touring in support of the latest album, there's quite a few from Steelhammer including the title track, Never Cross My Way, and Cry of a Nation, some of the best cuts. Other highlights include Trip to Nowhere, Future Land, Timebomb, and Holy. While things are hard charging from start to finish, you get short respite with anthems In The Darkness and more so with Azreal. In the encore, Udo throws in Metal Heart from his Accept days.
Even better, Udo and band really put out. You can tell they're excited to be playing and, with the crowd, having a ton of fun. The odd thing about watching the band perform comes from observing keyboard player Uli Kollner. Excepting one song, Devil's Bite, you can't hear any keyboards, making his musical presence largely useless. However, he makes a good cheerleader as he spends most of his time jumping around, pumping his metal fist, and pumping up the crowd. They should get him a pleated skirt, leather of course, and some pompoms.
They DVD comes with some bonus material, three items. The 'behind the scenes' is interesting when they put a camera on Udo his head to give you his perspective during a show. The Russia travel documentation is great, if you know Russian that is. The best bonus is the live recording of Trainride in Russia, where the band is joined by a Russian service man playing an electric balalaika, giving the song some ethnic color. Finally, in the booklet, Udo offers some personal remarks regarding events in Ukraine, his fondness for Russia, and the making of the DVD that, again, show that he's both a consummate professional and a class act. Perhaps that best sums up this DVD: a class act. Easily recommended.
UDO's Steelhammer Live From Moscow is most entertaining because of it's straightforward simplistic approach to recording live, putting the musicians and music first.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]