April 22, 2022 Udo Dirkschneider – My Way (Album Review)
Does aging mean the end to a lifelong musical career? No, it does not. It is actually quite the contrary…especially in the case German powerhouse Vocalist Udo Dirkschneider. Dirkschneider starting his career with the band Accept, then formulating his solo career with his own band U.D.O., thus becoming a staple in German Heavy Metal for many decades. Recently turning 70 years old, he is back in action with a very special new head to toe cover album called My Way.
Released on Friday, April 22, 2022 through Atomic Fire Records, My Way consists of 17 cover tracks featuring some very unexpected and interesting influences. Most musicians eat, sleep and breathe music. It encompasses their souls, and keeps them moving forward in life in the best way. With My Way Dirkschneider pays tribute to those who gave him inspiration. Featuring 17 different artists, ranging from Tina Turner to Frank Sinatra to Judas Priest, through it all Dirkschneider stays true to himself and his musical style, although he does add in musical additions when needed.
It begin in intriguing fashion with Alex Harvey’s “Faith Healer,” and the second selection is equally as great with The Crazy World of Arthur Brown’s “Fire.” For those who do not know, Arthur Brown is legendary, and he has influenced so much more than the Psychedelic Rock he is known for over the years. In fact, Black metal among other Heavy Metal sub-genres came out of the maddening genius of Arthur Brown.
From here the album moves forward with healthy dose of Uriah Heep with the song “Sympathy,” followed by an unusual, but totally appropriate cover of Tina Turner’s “They Call It Nutbush.” Who could have imagined Dirkschneider covering Tina Turner, and yet it somehow becomes so obvious after hearing his rendition. From here there is a cover of Rainbow’s “Man On The Silver Mountain,” which proves to be a wise choice. Then artists covered include The Sweet (“Hell Raiser”), Motörhead (“No Class”), Led Zeppelin (“Rock And Roll”), Billy Squier (“The Stroke”), and The Scorpions (“He’s A Woman, She’s A Man”), to name a few. There is also a cover of AC/DC’s “T.N.T.,” which sounds close to the original, but also a cover Judas Priest’s “Hell Bent For Leather,” which is such a perfect staple for the classic Heavy Metal world.
Keeping you guessing, just when you think you have figured out Dirkschneider’s path with this album, he dives into a cover of Wolfsheim’s “Kein Zurück,” and this is all sung in German which is something he seldom does, despite his heritage. Transforming Synthpop to Heavy Metal is a big leap, but somehow Dirkschneider pulls it off in an exciting fashion. He even pulls off Queen, but of course he chooses a tune he can excel at “We Will Rock You.”
When all is said and done it very much seems My Way is more for Dirkschneider than anyone else, and could one day serve almost as a Eulogy for his life. In fact, it has such a beautiful bittersweet ending with his heartfelt rendition of the title-track “My Way,” of course made famous by Frank Sinatra. Done very well, it leaves you drowning in your own tears, but in the best way.
Overall, if you are looking for a badass heavy new U.D.O. album, this one may not be quite what they are hoping for, however it is important to remember this is not an U.D.O. album, it is a Udo Dirkschneider one. Let us all hope there is a future U.D.O. album in the works, but in the case that there is not, Udo Dirkschneider has certainly contributed a lifetime of heaviness, and also some peaceful tunes for everyone to enjoy, but they must be willing to explore his discography. Wishing this Metal icon a happy 70th birthday, Cryptic Rock gives My Way 4.5 out of 5 stars.