I know for many people, the fact that Accept is back with a vengeance is a bad thing since lead vocalist Udo Dirkschneider is not along for the ride. I guess, on some level, I wish he was there as well. That said though, I think I'm one of the few that enjoys his post Accept band U.D.O. just as much as I ever did Accept. Let's be honest here - all U.D.O. amounts to is Accept with a slightly more electronic edge to them. To my ears, they are virtually the same band. The vocals are obviously the same, and even the guitar players have names that sound somewhat similar (Wolf Hoffman - Stefan Kaufmann). It may just be due to pressure, but the last two U.D.O. albums DOMINATOR and REV-RAPTOR have smoked sonically. Needless to say, when the latest CELEBRATOR came across my desktop, I was definitely excited.
Just as quickly, I was let down. The deal with CELEBRATOR is simple - b-sides, covers, unreleased tracks - your typical collection of crap that bands do at the end of their run or the end of their recording contract. CELEBRATOR is no exception. There's a couple of worthy tracks here, but for the most part my metal life would have been just find never hearing any of this material.
Probably the most interesting song on the collection to me is "X-T-C"; an Accept song from EAT THE HEAT which featured David Reece on vocalis. Dirkschneider's take on the song is admirable and proves that he probably would have propelled that album a bit further than it ended up going.
As for the rest of the material, it's a mixed bag of material that ranges from average to below average; proving why most of these songs were throw away tracks reserved for singles or specialty releases. Take a song like "Dancing With An Angel" as an example. It features vocalist Doro Pesch in a duet with Dirkschneider; an idea that would seem like the teaming of two dynamic German vocalists. Instead, it's a tepid ballad that just comes off flat and boring. The same can be said about the cover of Steppenwolf's "Born To Be Wild" with Raven from all the way back in 1983. The dynamics between the high vocals of John Gallagher and the deeper gravelly style of Dirkschneider sounds absolutely terrible and unlistenable.
Another big problem with this collection is the fact that Udo has decided now that he can be a clear throated crooner in a piano bar. These are the worst songs of Dirkschneider's career, to say the least. I hated this version of "Balls To The Wall" when it first appeared on one of those METAL MANIA STRIPPED releases, and I hate it worse now. While that song is bad, "Tears Of A Clown" done in this acoustic piano ballad style is even worse.
PITRIFF RATING - 22/100 - There's a few decent songs on this 2CD set, but the overwhelming majority of this material should have been left hidden where it belongs. There's definitely a reason this stuff wasn't released on any albums. Terrible.