U.D.O. BACK TO THE STEELFACTORY
Here are some of the new releases coming out today.
U.D.O. – Steelfactory
Udo Dirkschneider is one of a kind, when you hear him, you know exactly who he is. His influence on 80s speed metal and thrash is undeniable, yet he’s never been scared to roll with the times and try different things along the way. This is technically his third release with the word Steel in the title, following 2013’s Steelhammer, and 2014’s Steelhammer – Live From Moscow.
This time around the album was recorded as a four-piece, with his trusty sidekick Fitty Wienhold by his side, and for the first time on a studio album, his son Sven Dirkschneider on drums.
Monte Pittman – Better Or Worse
Monte Pittman – Between The Space
Monte has been one of my favorite artists of the last few years, I still listen to his last two releases on Metal Blade, The Power Of Three, and Inverted Grasp Of Balance, on a frequent basis. Every time I hear someone praise Stone Sour, Alter Bridge, or Mark Tremonti specifically, I tell them to check out Monte Pittman, he won’t disappoint.
This is one of those artists that should be bigger than what he actually is. He studied under Randy Rhoads’ mother, Delores Rhoads at Musonia School Of Music. And you can always hear that influence in his playing, on Inverted Grasp Of Balance, he has a track called “Double-Edged Sword” where you would swear it’s Randy playing the solo.
One to his two new albums, two you ask? Better Or Worse is an acoustic album, showing Monte’s a man of many talents. This album is haunting and different. It would be easy to say it sounds like Alice In Chain’s Sap or Jar Of Flies, but that doesn’t capture the entire essence of the album.
Sure there are haunting aspects or slower movements that remind you of music written by Jerry Cantrell, but for lack of a better example, it’s Monte transposing what he does on an acoustic. So it really isn’t one thing, it’s a rollercoaster ride, that takes you through a soundtrack that is a worth wild listen to from start to finish.
Between The Space is a full-on electric album, much more in the vein of his last two albums on Metal Blade. The difference this time around is that instead of recording as a three-piece, and having an outside mixer and producer, Monte handles everything on his own, vocals, guitar, bass, drums, and all of the board work.
One of the coolest things about this album is the number of earworms that are waiting to get stuck in your head. He’s always been good at mixing the heavy with the melodic and bringing forward melodies that get stuck in your head.
Helion Prime – Terror Of The Cybernetic Space Monster
The Sacramento power metal band returns with their second full length, their second in as many years, and second singer. Their original singer Kayla Dixon is part of Witch Mountain and was pulling double duty, and decided to stick with the Oregon Doom Metal band instead.
So in comes Sozos Michael, essentially switching from a female to male lead singer, and the results/vocal range is pretty similar, so honestly, there isn’t much lost on that front in the event there is someone cross-armed saying “where’s Kayla”. The band continues their brand of space-influenced power metal, when you take your name from The Chronicles Of Riddick, you can’t expect the band to sing about dragons and elves.
The Vintage Caravan – Gateways
The Icelandic hard rock band releases their second album on Nuclear Blast Records, their first since 2015’s Arrival. If retro-thrash was a thing at the turn of the century, it seems as if The Vintage Caravan and a bunch of other bands, are the in things. They are skirting the line between the psychedelic rock of the 60s and 70s rock, which heavily draws mainly from bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, and Led Zeppelin.
Now it isn’t a straight-up copy like others that are currently in the spotlight, it is more like The Vintage Caravan is taking a pitch from this band, some from this other, and yet a little more from that band over yonder. They aren’t inventing anything new, but they are presenting their spin on 70s hard rock without being a one-trick pony.
Here are some other albums that may be of interest to you:
Alice Cooper – A Paranormal Evening At The Olympia Paris
Stone Sour – Hydrograd Deluxe Edition
Alkaline Trio – Is This Thing Cursed?
Cast The Stone – Empyrean Atrophy EP
Conan – Existential Void Guardian
Steve ‘n’ Seagulls – Grainsville
Article by Victor M. Ruiz of Mars Attacks Radio & Podcast, and Galaxy Of Geeks Podcast. Connect with him on Twitter: @vmr907