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U.D.O. - Live In Bulgaria 2020 Pandemic Survival Show Award winner

Live In Bulgaria 2020 Pandemic Survival Show
by Mike McMahan at 24 March 2021, 2:59 PM

The legendary Udo Dirkschneider is an absolute fixture in the world of Heavy Metal music. An original member of the iconic ACCEPT, originally formed in the seventies, but coming to prominence in 1983, with the release of “Balls To The Wall”Udo has been at it for a great deal of time. It is hard for me to think about mid-eighties Metal without picturing Udo’s head inside the feature lines of Wolf Hoffman’s Flying V, in the video for that album’s title cut. He formed the original lineup of U.D.O. after separating from ACCEPT after the 1986 release of “Russian Roulette”. Through several lineup changes over the years, and a reunion with ACCEPT in ’92 (lasting until ’96), U.D.O. has managed to release seventeen studio albums, plus compilations and live releases.

This latest venture, “Live In Bulgaria 2020: Pandemic Survival Show”, was recorded in front of a 2500 member audience (observing social distancing policies), at the Roman Amphitheatre in Plovdiv, Bulgaria on September 18th, 2020. The album is an incredibly massive effort, spanning two discs and checking in at an impressive two hours and eighteen minutes worth of material. Just the thought of staging such an undertaking in one of the most adverse times in modern history is staggering; but to the band, who sound as if they are having the time of their lives, and to the audience in attendance, I’m sure the show felt like a Godsend. To this reviewer, it felt about the same.

From the opening harmonized guitar licks of “Tongue Reaper”, this band announces its presence to the crowd with a thundering swagger. There is absolutely nothing lost in the presentation of this beast of a song, as the musicianship is astounding. The band is tightly wound, and the audience eats up the tune with a fervor. The guitar work of Smirnov and Dammers is impressive throughout the release; as is the rhythm section of Tilen Hudrap and Udo’s son, Sven Dirkscneider, who has found himself behind the kit since Francesco Jovino’s departure in December of 2014. Udo shows a few signs of wear and tear, vocally, throughout the show, but at 68 years old, he stands taller than most could.

After the second cut, “Make The Move”Udo asks the audience “What can you do about this fucking virus?” I’ll tell you what Udo has decided to do…He packed 2500 souls into Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s historic Roman Amphitheatre and rocked their asses off. Seems like a perfectly logical solution to me. Wish I could have been there.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

 Disc One
1. Tongue Reaper
2. Make The Move
3. Midnight Mover
4. Wrong Side Of Midnight
5. Metal Machine
6. Independence Day
7. Rose In The Desert
8. Vendetta
9. Rising High
10. Prologue: The Great Unknown
11. In The Darkness
12. I Give As Good As I Get
13. Princess Of The Dawn

Disc Two
1. Timebomb
2. Drum Solo
3. Bass Solo
4. Hungry And Angry
5. One Heart One Soul
6. Man And Machine
7. Animal House
8. They Want War
9. Metal Heart
10. Fast As A Shark
11. Balls To The Wall
12. Outro (Stillness Of Time)
Udo Dirkschneider – Vocals
Andrey Smirnov – Guitars
Fabian Dee Dammers – Guitars
Tilen Hudrap – Bass
Sven Dirkschneider - Drums
Record Label: AFM Records


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Edited 30 January 2023

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