June In Metal III: U.D.O., “Celebrator: Rare Tracks”
Celebrator might sound like the name of a greatest hits record but in fact this is a “rare tracks” two disc compilation instead. The rarities comp. is always an interesting proposition for me. These types of albums aren’t made for the casual fans, moreso the hardcore completists that want to own everything by a particular group. The quality of the music on the disc in a way, doesn’t even matter. It’s where the songs came from and how rare they truly are.
Someday I will pull out my list of reasons why rarities discs suck in general but that’s a piece unto itself. So let me simply tell you why I simply hate the concept of this one in particular. I hate it because the hardcore U.D.O. fan probably already has 3/4 of these tracks. By biggest issue is with songs like “Stormbreaker,” “Bleeding Heart” and “Borderline” as these three appeared on the Japanese version of various U.D.O. records. So there are certainly those crazy people that went out and bought the Japanese import for $37 to get the extra two tracks thinking they had something special and here they are showing up on a regular disc now.
Then there’s “Streets of Sin,” “Bodyworld” and others that were released a the B-sides to singles throughout their career. I’m sure the singles were easier to find than the Japanese versions, so the collector probably already has these as well. Then there are the various tracks that aren’t even U.D.O. songs – they are songs featuring Udo the man, not U.D.O. the group. There is really nothing rare about “Head Over Heels” – an Accept cover featuring Udo on vocals. Nor is there anything rare about Lordi’s cover of Accept’s “They Only Come Out At Night.” The part that is kind of funny about the cover songs on this disc is that they are almost all Accept tunes. I mean, U.D.O.’s cover of “X-T-C” from his old band during an era that he wasn’t a part of is actually kind of odd.
The fact of the matter is that this type of release disgusts me personally, so I’m biased. But as a fan of the man but not a super fan, I can take a step back and look at the music itself and what you get is, well…exactly what you’d expect out of any U.D.O. recording at this point. The older tunes have Udo at the top of his vocal game while the new tracks sound like he’s gargling razorblades. And if I assigned a star rating to things, this would get 3/5 which is pretty much what ever single record from the group gets. As with everything they’ve released for the last decade at least, the fantastic mingles with the mediocre leaving you to simply shrug your shoulders at the end and say “well, it’s exactly what I expected.”
I almost hate to recommend it but there is actually one song on here that all metal fans should hear and that’s Udo’s stark piano version of the Accept classic, “Balls To the Wall.” I hate saying that for a two basic reasons, the first of course being that this is another one of those tunes that really doesn’t have anything to do with the group so really shouldn’t be on this comp, but really because you simply don’t go fucking with such a classic metal tune. But for some goddamn reason hearing Udo sing “you get your balls to the wall, man” over top of a grand piano is simply mesmerizing.
This is another one of these damn reviews that I throw down 600 words on when there’s absolutely no one that is going to buy this set based on anyone’s review but fuck it man, it’s Udo Dirkschneider, the most metal name in all the land, so I feel like I’d lose my metal card if I didn’t at least say something.
Albums currently on the potential best of 2012 list:
Christian Mistress, Possession
Goatwhore, Blood for the Master
Human Toilet, Human Toilet
Jorn, Bring Heavy Rock To the Land
OSI, Fire Make Thunder
Terrorizer, Hordes of Chaos
Woods of Ypres, Woods 5