U.D.O. and the Musikkorps der Bundeswehr – “We Are One” (AFM Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Never one to back away from a challenge, metal legend Udo Dirkschneider unleashes this unique worldwide musical project with the official concert band of the German Armed Forces (Musikkorps der Bundeswehr)! The original voice of Accept, the iconic Dirkschneider, has collaborated with Lieutenant Colonel Christoph Scheibling, who commands the Musikkorps der Bundeswehr, to develop and arrange 15 new songs featuring 2 former Accept musicians Stefan Kaufmann and Peter Baltes, as well as the German Armed Forces´ composers Guido Rennert and Alexander Reuber. As such, the title “We Are One” speaks bounds in not just the success of working with a 60-piece orchestra, but also duetting with singer Manuela Markewitz, and moreover getting across important messages about the need to draw together on worldwide issues such as climate change, refugee movements and pollution of the environment. Intended to show the very best of both U.D.O. the band and the Musikkorps, the material is impressive in its sheer range from speed metal to AOR ballads to epic and symphonic tracks, although the resounding aspect across the album is Dirkschneider’s voice. Through sublime choirs and flutes, an exotic, eastern symphony brings a cinematic soundscape to ‘Love And Sin’, before Dirkschneider’s cat purr sounds amid pumping prog organ keys and the twin guitars of Andrey Smirnov and Fabian Dee Dammers in building to the climatic power chorus lines of ‘…light my fire, my desire…’! With deep horns, operatic choirs and stirring flutes building ‘Natural Forces’, the guitars add in their neo classical splendour along to the military drumming as folk and symphonic melodies grace this powerful instrumental, really showing the measure of the Musikkorps orchestra and a truly special treat for anyone appreciative of military band music, albeit with a metal touch here. No messing about however on ‘We Strike Back’, as Sven Dirkschneider’s double bass drumming sets the pace with chainsaw guitars adding in their abrasion to Udo’s cat scream although the presence of flowing flutes and backing brass sections adds a dramatic, almost 007 James Bond touch to the track, while the wailing neo classical solos are simply out’ve this world. Closing with ‘Beyond Good And Evil’, it’s back to the cinematic bliss of stirring horn sections and angelic femme choirs contrasting vividly with heavy guitar riffs, and all along to an epic eastern rhythm as the tempo and power increases along with heart racing passion. “We Are One” is a dream that Dirkschneider has had for a long time since the show with the Concert Band of the German Armed Forces in Wacken (2015), as well as the `Navy Metal Night‘ in Tuttlingen (2014), and now with the realisation of this work, has made everyone think deeply about the challenges facing the world, and all our futures.