Mastercutor by U.D.O.
Release date : May 2007
Reviewed by Mark Fisher
In mid February 2007, Mastercutor was announced as the title of U.D.O.'s eleventh studio album. The album's title is a shortened version of “master executor”, whilst the full length's lyrical content deals with “silly” game shows, and reality television. With Stefan Kaufmann handling production, recording occurred at Pulheim, Germany's Roxx Studio.
Slated for release during May, mastering was scheduled to begin in early March. By mid March, U.D.O. unveiled the fact that EP The Wrong Side of Midnight would be issued in late April. The EP featured two versions of the title track, as well as three non-album cuts (namely “Streets of Sin”, “Man a King Ruler”, and “Cry Soldier Cry (Russian Version)”). In support of the track, a music video was filmed. Built during the Second World War, a closed tunnel section near Stuttgart provided a recording location. Whilst shooting the clip, U.D.O. frontman Udo Dirkschneider was reportedly attacked by a colony of bats. Late in the month, Mastercutor's track listing and artwork was revealed.
While never overwhelmingly popular, Dirkschneider discovered where his very talents lie early into his musical career. To those talents, Dirkschneider has remained extremely faithful ever since. Traditionally oriented, Mastercutor is overtly polished. Gravelly vocals fuse themselves against Hard Rock, mirroring U.D.O.'s initial ten studio albums. This chosen approach boasts positive and negative attributes, though U.D.O. simply doesn't care. Nonetheless, U.D.O. continually chug along.
Albeit not U.D.O.'s greatest material per se, Mastercutor ranks amongst the group's more striking full lengths. An “X” factor denotes much of the tracks; upon many past U.D.O. albums, this flare wasn't successfully kindled. Given such components, the album's respective tracks hearken towards Accept's earlier material. However, Dirkschneider's legendary voice has ventured a lengthy way since the man's time as part of Accept, and the frontman isn't merely aiming towards repeating past achievements.
Initially apparent is the clown artwork which adorns Mastercutor's front cover, a design which can be categorised via the word “creepy”. Achieving its goal, the artwork instills an urge to immediately place the album upon the disc tray, close that disc tray, and subsequently press “play”. The design cannot be deemed as being in the classic U.D.O. vein, a statement which listeners can irrefutably trust. Yet again, creepiness rears its skull via the record's brief intro, and that intro launches into “Mastercutor”. A ballsy, straightforward Metal tune, this specific composition isn't one of the act's greatest moments. How this cut spawned Mastercutor's general theme is utterly baffling. Undoubtedly, this title cut is the album's weakest number. By virtue of tracks like “The Wrong Side of Midnight”, “Walker of the Dark”, “Vendetta”, and “The Devil Walks Alone”, the full length undergoes recuperation. Collectively, these songs cause Mastercutor to venture towards areas one would never have imagined in light of the title cut. Arguably heavier than much of U.D.O.'s back catalogue, Dirkschneider applies gritty, cutthroat vocals at each and every juncture. Closely approaching ballad status, the mid tempo “One Lone Voice” is Mastercutor's surprise highlight. The track was tailor penned in support of Rock radio, and boasts such a potent hook that no listener could refute its excellence. In certain respects, “One Lone Voice” recalls Avantasia's greater moments. Wonderfully dark though nonetheless melodic, the number's feel is melancholic, yet carries a sense of hope.
Once each and every opinion is aired, Mastercutor is extremely simple to dissect. Should you find joy in listening to material penned by U.D.O. and Accept, then this specific full length will undoubtedly inspire similar such joy. In actual fact, should you happen to be an U.D.O. / Accept fanatic, then Mastercutor will likely figure amongst your favourite records authored by either of the two outfits. Should you hold lukewarm emotions regarding this legendary Metal group even, Mastercutor's significance will cause a pleasant surprise (particularly if Mastercutor is critiqued against 2004's Thunderball and 2005's Mission No. X). If you've never particularly admired U.D.O.'s material, though are curious as to whether this specific album incorporates fresh ingredients, then the answer to that query would be no. To such queries, the answer will always be no. U.D.O.'s respective members possess genuinely Metal oriented hearts, and Mastercutor prominently reflects such affections.