While Rev-Raptor was more or less a cheap copy of the brilliant Dominator record, Steelhammer is again much stronger and features all trademarks that U.D.O. are known for. In addition, it also has a few surprises in store for the unsuspecting listeners.
The songs in detail: The title track is a U.D.O. signature track: fast riffs, memorable leads and a shout-along chorus. The following A Cry of a Nation, Metal Machine and Basta Ya are three real highlights. They are all a bit slower but they have, again, great choruses and also lead guitars. In addition, the lyrics are surprisingly sociocritical.
Heavy Rain is then the first really big surprise: It is a piano-led ballad, which sounds a lot like a love song. But it is only a short breaks before the following Devil`s Bite and Death Ride kick you right into your ass. Both are quite fast but they are also simpler than the songs before. King of Mean has again great melodies and also a great chorus, making it another album highlight. In contrast, Timekeeper is, again, much simpler; the same is true for Take My Medicine, the only total disaster of this album, and Stay true.
Towards the end of the album, we encounter a few surprises again. Never Cross My Way is an emotional mid-tempo song with great melodies and a great chorus - definitely a highlight again. When Love Becomes A Lie has a similar vibe as Heavy Rain but guitars replace the piano. The final Book of Faith is quite complex. It ends with a lot of orchestral sounds, really bombastic. Also this should be something totally new for U.D.O.
All in all, Steelhammer is a good album, that´s mainly because of all the different types of songs. It makes the album a really good listen and it never becomes boring. Actually, not every single song is a hit but because of the total running time and the large number of songs, it is no problem at all. There are still enough good songs left to make this a worthy 14th studio album.