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Music Reviews: Toto, U.D.O., Uriah Heep, and Xandria

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Toto is about to unleash a new live album on us all called 35th Anniversary Tour – Live in Poland. It was recorded before an adoring crowd of fans and covers their entire career. They have most of the crew for the ride, so you get to hear songs sung by those who originally recorded them (Toto has had quite a few lead singers) and Steve Luckather is in fine form. Both his vocals and guitar playing are as fantastic as ever. And for the most part, they keep the musical fapping to a minimum. This is quite a good live album and certainly one very valuable for your money.

U.D.O. has Steelhammer: Live in Moscow on offer in early June to the band’s myriad of fans. This 21-track live release runs the gamut of what makes Udo Dirkschneider. Gravel-voiced as always and firing all cylinders, the audience can’t get enough. As you can tell from the title, this was recorded on the band’s recent tour in support of Steelhammer. Sadly no “Balls to the Wall” from Udo’s Accept career. It was the first time the band played in Russia so the fans are especially appreciative.

Uriah Heep are back with the album Outsider, set to be released in early June. Thankfully the band are in bloody good form. There are some great tunes on here that will remind you why the band were/are so beloved by their many fans. Xandria - Sacrificium“Can’t Take That Away” is a great song that really shows off this band’s talent and reminds us of their vintage tracks like “Easy Livin’. The fact they have been around so long and yet are able to produce such a solid release is a testament to the talents of the people involved. This is the type of release that will please those already into the band and may in fact attract more to their cause.

Xandria are back with their slick brand of symphonic metal on Sacrificium. It is what you expect from this lot and puts a bloody great smile on my face. In the light of lackluster output from their fellows in the genre, it is good to see Xandria able to pull off a solid release. Not a stinker track to be had anywhere. Tracks like “Stardust” are a good reminder of why we like bands like this in the first place.

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