01. Isolation Man 02. The Flood 03. The Double Dealer's Club 04. Fight For The Right 05. Forever Free 06. Punchline 07. Sad Man's Show 08. The Betrayer 09. Heroes Of Freedom 10. Better Start To Run 11. The Battle Understood 12. Living Hell 13. Touchdown
Good old Udo Dirkschneider. 44 years since the release of the first ACCEPT album, the German legend is still bashing away on the metal frontlines. "Touchdown" is the 18th album under the U.D.O. banner and, notably, the first to feature ex-ACCEPT bassist Peter Baltes. The likelihood that this will be anything other than a red-blooded celebration of heavy fucking metal is, of course, witheringly thin. "Touchdown" does not disappoint.
Recent years have been particularly fruitful for Dirkschneider's band. In particular, both 2018's "Steelfactory" and 2021's "Game Over" were strong efforts that hinted at renewed enthusiasm. With Baltes now on board, the singer has obviously clicked into a high gear, perhaps fueled by memories of those early, glory days with his former band. Regardless, "Touchdown" is the strongest collection of songs he has put his name to since 1991's "Timebomb".
The fun begins with two outright heavy metal anthems. "Isolation Man" is the perfect starting point: gleaming, melodic speed metal, enhanced by that unmistakable Dirkschneider screech. "The Flood" is darker and heavier, with an epic, mid-paced feel. A crystal clear but deceptively heavy production ensures that kick drums kick and guitars shake the furniture, and all is well with the world. Next, "The Double Dealer's Club" is a slightly looser, '80s-style rocker with some sharp guitar hooks, while "Fight For The Right" is an immaculate chunk of trademark U.D.O.; bluster that (somewhat optimistically) proclaims that "good will always win", before soaring off on a mischievous pseudo-classical crusade. Less unpredictable is recent single "Forever Free": a down-the-line sing-along, delivered with loose-limbed flash and aimed squarely at sentimental metalheads everywhere.
Clearly having the time of his (recent) life, Dirkschneider barks and snarls his way through the rest of "Touchdown", evidently secure in the knowledge that his band are masters of traditional metal with a state-of-the-art sheen. From the gritty slapdown of "Punchline" and the rancorous rush of "The Betrayer", to the GRAVE DIGGER-like warrior cry of "The Battle Understood", "Touchdown" is a wildly effective exercise in heavy metal evangelism, performed by tried and tested veterans with nothing to prove and nothing to lose.
As the title track brings things to a close, hurtling along at light speed, one might wonder aloud how Udo Dirkschneider still has the energy for all of this. But he does, and "Touchdown" is an unpretentious, hard-hitting joy as a result.
BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).