Sound — 7
While the album had it's fair share of memorable moments, U.D.O.'s 2013 studio album "Steelhammer" admittedly did leave much to be desired, largely due to the incorporation of some largely out-of-place synthesizer playing and the addition of an awkward piano ballad. Perhaps this could be attributed to the band's recent lineup alterations, which resulted in guitarist Andrey Smirnov handling all of the guitar work (a position usually maintained by two talents), seeing as Kasperi Heikkinen wasn't introduced into the band until after the completion of "Steelhammer."
After spending time on the road and developing a strong songwriting chemistry, the members of U.D.O. have since returned to the recording studio and ultimately came up with what is perhaps one of their stronger collections of material to date. "Decadent" stands as the sixteenth full-length studio album from the German heavy metal veterans, fronted by original Accept singer Udo Dirkschneider, are largely plays to the band's strengths - fortunately in this case, it means commanding heavy metal songs driven by protruding percussion, blistering guitar work and grueling falsetto. This sonic freight train doesn't quite reach any predetermined destination, meaning that "Decadent" is solely comprised of anthemic tracks that deliver quite the punch, leaving no room for melancholic ballads.
The opening number "Speeder" does a commendable job at introducing the band's latest effort, and shows Dirkschneider reaching some of his highest screams since his Accept days. This is followed by the album's title track, which shows the iconic metal frontman targeting the widespread greed found throughout the one percentile of the upper class throughout the world. "House of Fake" introduces an almost alternative metal chord progression, before ultimately evolving into a highly melodic number which could easily find a welcome spot on active rock radio.
Alluring acoustic guitar introduces the laidback "Secrets in Paradise," which is one of the few moments on the album which remotely sounds like his work with his former band, due to the articulate soloings above the track's acoustic bedrock. "Meaning of Life" abandons this character almost intentionally, with high octane chord progressions and brooding vocals. "Under Your Skin" embodies a swift speed metal attitude, but don't be quick to anticipate a "Fast as a Shark" sequel, as it the main focus here is directed towards sheer shredding and ferocious kick drumming.
"Rebels of the Night" feeds this intensity with punishing heavy metal distortion and additional emphasis on the percussion work, while Dirkschneider's distinctive vocals lead the way through the carnage. The nearly eight minute epic "Words in Flame" concludes the effort, with atmospheric synthesizers beckoning an arsenal of dueling guitar work in a solid symphonic metal number. To put it tactfully, "Decadent" is a much more consistent U.D.O. album compared to his recent offerings, and the end result benefits from it.
Lyrics — 8
Udo Dirkschneider has been dishing out his unique falsetto for many decades with U.D.O., without even including those years he spent at the helm of Accept. Dirkschneider has admirably maintained both his lower, talk-singing range and crushing higher octave, which only makes the listening experience that much more impactful for those dedicated listeners coming into his latest studio effort.
Overall Impression — 8
Improving upon the chemistry last featured on 2013's "Steelhammer," the members of German heavy metal group U.D.O. now progress forward with one of their strongest offerings to date. The band's newly released sixteenth studio album "Decadent" occasionally galivants some noticeable similarities to frontman Udo Dirkschneider's previous work with Accept, however the end result remains in an entirely different territory altogether.