Navy Metal Night marks the second release by U.D.O. this year, the first was the studio release Decadent in January (reviewed here: U.D.O. Gets Decadent). This being a live album, I make the disclaimer that I am not usually a big fan of live albums. Aside from KISS‘ Alive or UFO‘s Strangers in the Night, I rarely get the same energy from the live recording as I do actually being at the show. That said, a live album will pique my interest when it presents the songs in a new way, in this case with the German Navy Orchestra and choir. While I think that the “playing with an orchestra” thing is a bit played out I do have a soft spot in my heart for anything that U.D.O. does these days.
Musically for an album like this to work, song selection is key. The songs have to work with the orchestra and be able to be enhanced by the orchestra. I would say that is the biggest strength of this release. The band is not simply playing over the orchestra, but instead these classical musicians are using their instruments to enhance the songs. For example the percussion on the song “Book of Faith”. Make no mistake, this is not a collection of ballads full of flutes and strings- it’s called Navy Metal Night for a reason. Song highlights for me are “Independence Day”, “Heart of Gold”, and the duet with Doro “Dancing with an Angel”. The other aspect of this album that I respect is that all the songs on here are U.D.O. songs, no old Accept. This may coincide with current U.D.O., and the ex-Accept lead singer Udo Dirkschneider‘s recent statement saying that he is going to make one last tour under the separate Dirkschneider moniker to give his spin on his old Accept material. I appreciate that because it makes this release less like a cash grab on former glory and more like an artistic statement from a quality band.
I have no rating for this album as there is no new material, but I do recommend it for any U.D.O. fan. If you are interested in U.D.O. but not familiar with their music, I recommend starting with either Mean Machine or Steelhammer.