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U.D.O. (1987-1992, 1996-): a Heavy Metal band from Solingen, Germany.


etting back to his stylistic roots, U.D.O. was the solo project of ex-Accept frontman vocalist Udo Dirkschneider who recruited Matthias Deith (guitar), Peter Szigeti (guitar), Frank Rittel (bass) and Tomas Franke (drums) to release his long awaited debut Animal House (1988) to acclaim. It seemed as though U.D.O. was going to challenge Accept, and their style, at their heyday but he fell short for the subsequent albums of Mean Machine (1989) under the massively revised line-up of Andy Susemihl (guitar), Thomas Smuzyszki (bass) and Stefan Schwarzmann (drums) in place of Rubach, Rittel and Franke. The next album, Faceless World (1990; now without Susemihl), came across as formulaic.

Timebomb (1991), a more heavier album than their previous releases, would be the last for the original act. In 1992, Dirkschneider put U.D.O. on hiatus to reunite with Accept.

When Dirkschneider returned, Solid (1997) was the result. This new effort also saw him recruit the entire string section of the band with only himself and Schwarzmann returning, to include J├╝rgen Graf (guitar), Stefan Kaufmann (guitar), Fitty Wienhold (bass).

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No Limits (1998) followed. Holy (1999) would be next, under the line-up of Igor Gianola replacing Graf, and Lorenzo Milani replacing Schwarzmann), along with the live set Live In Russia (2001).

Man and Machine (2002) received a somewhat lukewarm reception despite featuring tracks like the title track, with Private Eye, as well as being notable for Dancing with an Angel, featuring a duet performance of Dirkschneider and vocalist Doro Pesch.

Thunderball (2004) and Mastorcutor (2007) then followed.

In August 2007, bassist Fitty Weinhold was unable to perform with the band due to "private reasons". He would be temporarily replaced with former Majesty bassist Marcus Bielenberg for tours.

U.D.O.'s twelfth studio album Dominator was released on 21 August 2009. The follow-up, Rev-Raptor was originally due for release on 14 January 2011, but was delayed until 20 May 2011 due to the recurrence of Kaufmann's back problems; Kaufmann would subsequently leave in September of 2012 for those health reasons. January 2013 would see Russian guitarist Andrey Smirnov recruited as his replacement. A week later, Igor Gianola would be the next to leave, "due to conflicts between band appointments and his private life and business." Ex-Amberian Dawn guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen would replace him. The fourteenth album Steelhammer (2013) would follow that May.

December 2014 would see Jovino leave for personal reasons, to then join Primal Fear the following year. He would be replaced by Dirkschneider's son Sven. The next album, Decadent (2015) followed.

2017 saw a rapid switch in membership with Heikkinen announced his departure citing personal reasons; Bill Hudson (guitar) was announced as the replacement. On 24 April 2018, Hudson then parted ways with the band "due to a difference in their individual visions for the future", according to Dirkschneider, adding that there was no "negative feelings on either side". In June 2018, Stefan Kaufmann temporarily rejoined the band only for the summer festival appearances until a new guitarist was found. Steelfactory (2018) would follow.

The changes weren't done, however, for on 19 September 2018, Wienhold quit; guitarist Dee Dammers and bassist Tilen Hudrap would enter as the new members for the releases of We Are One (2020), Live in Bulgaria 2020 - Pandemic Survival Show (2021; live album), Game Over (2021) and My Way (2022). For Touchdown (2023), Peter Baltes had taken over from Tilen Hudrap.

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