HATCHERY, Birth of a Bomb (2007, self-released)

The skull:
This cover is the bomb! There, I said it. I like that another German band checks in
with a bomb/warhead theme so soon after U.D.O.’s Timebomb, Skull280. This is one of the finest entries we Friars and the Council have ever seen, a favorite in the Skullection. I don’t have to walk you through this one…you can see very clearly why it rules. I mean, a bomb with a warhead fashioned into a skull, a skull grinning in anticipation of
killing hundreds upon impact, maybe thousands if he’s lucky. A kamikaze mission, for sure. The huge right earhole is weird — perhaps it’s a matter of aerodynamics — and I like the thin robotic arm with a human hand putting on a final weld or two before this sucker drops on some unfortunate mass of humanity.

The music:
With an album cover this good, the music was bound to disappoint. Hatchery play super-aggressive, super-energetic thrash with a vocalist who yelps hysterically above the din. Not quite Sean Killian (Vio-lence) but probably equally divisive to thrash fans; there are also some similarities to the guy in Lich King (who, incidentally, have an album called Born of the Bomb). Maybe it’s like early Bobby Blitz (Overkill) trying to sing Last Man on Earth-era Martin Van Drunen (that specific enough for you?). But this guy, Christian Muller, is clearly his own man, and admittedly pretty nuts. I’d recommend checking this album out only to experience his vocals. Musically Hatchery are a totally competent band, with moments that set them a level or two higher from the new-thrash pack, like the “Wasted Years”-esque guitar work that opens “Brotherhood,” or the excellent soloing at the end of “Above the Law.” They’re also not afraid of Anthrax-style gang vocals, or showing influence from straightforward traditional heavy metal (parts of “War”). But, yet again (and again…and again…and again) there are no truly inventive riffs here, it’s all been beaten to death, buried, exhumed, and beaten to fucking death again. So, I’d recommend this if you have a limitless love for pretty much all thrash yet prefer the upper tier of the NWoTM (Havok, Lich King, Evile). I’m not even gonna list Vektor, as they’re above it all. Hatchery does, at least, have something of their own sound happening, but that’s largely due to the vocalist’s crazed delivery. BTW, the word “hatchery” must carry a special meaning for those in Germany and Eastern Europe, because the only two metal bands in existence using this word are from the region (the other being Poland’s Calm Hatchery). There’s aren’t many words that are less metal than “hatchery.” Makes me think of tiny yellow chicks, or fish.
— Friar Wagner



U.D.O., Timebomb  (1991, BMG Ariola)

The skull:
“Hey guys, check it out! I can balance this warhead on my forehead!” All lit up, as in
drunk, and literally lit up (eye sockets aglow with radiation), the pale orange skull that
all the other skulls try their best to avoid is at it again. Fuckin’ Rodney. Such
a jerk. Always hamming it up at the Big Dumb Skulls Christmas party, and here he goes
again. I mean, god, the nerve, especially with that arsenal of missiles behind him…one
false move and this is the last BDS Christmas party, ever. We were never really sure what
the tubing was all about, or whatever’s hanging from his left eye, but we’ll never find out either. BLAM-O! went the place, with a number of casualties, even more injured, and a hell of a mess to clean up. The sad post-script to all this is that U.D.O.’s record label wouldn’t allow his concept album about the event be titled Warhead On My Forehead. They used the skull’s posthumous nickname instead. R.I.P. Rodney “Timebomb” Schmidt.

The music:
When Udo Dirkscheider left Accept and formed U.D.O., he started out strong: debut Animal House was basically an Accept album in all but name. It slowly devolved in a dire direction thereafter. Eventually all the nuance, class and intelligence of prime Accept was gone. But it’s not all bad — if you are a fan of the first Accept run (1979-1986) you’ll find a few songs on each of U.D.O.’s first handful of albums that do his legacy and former band proud. As full albums, though, most don’t hold up to repeated listens. The lyrics started getting stupider with each new release, and by the late ’90s U.D.O. became a dumbed-down Accept and a redundant bore. What about Timebomb? It’s considered one of the best in U.D.O.’s long and ongoing slog, and while I appreciate its intensity and the fire that went into its making (much more inspired than dull trudges like Mean Machine) some of this makes any IQ I have tumble into the single digits. There really is a fine line between stupid and clever, and a lot of this is the stupid to Accept’s clever. Like “Kick in the Face.” And check out the song titles: “Metal Maniac Master Mind,” “Powersquad,” and “Thunderforce,” with lines like “Thunderforce, thunderforce, striking the universe / thunderforce, thunderforce, getting attacked, I’m fighting back.” What is this, a Power Rangers soundtrack? “Powersquad” sounds like a damn Jackyl b-side. Then there are the high points, noteworthy moments like the solo sections of “Back in Pain” and the title track, which are certifiably awesome; not just the solos, but the majestic passages underneath. Still, even if Timebomb is near the top of the pile by the stunted measuring stick we measure U.D.O. albums by, it still has that assembly-line vibe which permeates all U.D.O. albums. Set ’em up, knock ’em down, next…set ’em up, knock ’em down, next…set ’em up, knock ’em down, next…and so on.
— Friar Wagner