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Axel Rudi Pell: Tales of the crown

12/12/08  ||  Euthanatos

Axel Rudi Pell may not be the guitar player everyone has listened to, like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen etc. But I’m pretty damn sure you’ve heard of him one time or the other, and seen his albums in a store with those awesome covers and had the little curiosity bug itching your rear. Maybe you didn’t give it a chance just because it had some dude’s name on the cover? Natural mistake. Although Rudi Pell is somewhat of a virtuoso, his albums are not guitar-driven at all, they are your run-of-the-mill power metal, and they are damn good ones at that.

One of Axel’s greatest assets, besides his playing and song-writing, is always getting a killer band behind him. I have yet to see a line-up he puts together which doesn’t simply kill at their instruments, and that’s true even for his singers. His latest, Johnny Gioeli, has been with him since 1997, over 10 years now, and I believe this is their seventh album together. Johnny has your quintessential power metal voice, aggressive and melodic, epic and emotional. After all these years, I’m not afraid to say he sounds better than ever. Also, his drummer is Mike Terrana, who is pretty much a drum god in the metal world, one of the best, and his presence is richly felt.

While the first two songs on “Tales of the Crown” are more mid-paced, even being able to be labeled as power-ballads (something Axel is famous for, hence his “The Ballads” albums, probably his greatest successes), it is only in “Angel Eyes” that things finally pick up the pace, even though it’s not a very interesting song.

“Crossing Fire” slows things down once more, and the purest form of power-ballads can be heard in “Touching My Soul” and “Emotional Echoes”. True, these electric ballads have become Axel’s bread and butter, I’m a little hesitant to enjoy an album filled to the brim with them, after all, he has other outlets for that. I miss the faster power metal of his former days.

While Axel Rudi Pell is still a master songwriter, one to be admired and (why not) imitated as much as the guitar heroes I mentioned in the beginning, this particular album gets boring for a while. A bit more punch and quite a lot more balls would be very healthy and welcome additions.

Still, it’s a nice album to slip into your system while making out with a chick (or dude, whatever), as penises slip into vaginas. After all, isn’t that what life is all about?

The cover: I’m also a bit pissed about the cover. I just said Axel has great covers, and he delivers one with a skull with a crown. I mean, come on, much, much better artwork has been featured in his albums.

5 aging German guitar heroes out of 10.

  • Information
  • Released: 2008
  • Label: SPV
  • Website: www.axel-rudi-pell.de
  • Band
  • Axel Rudi Pell: guitars
  • Johnny Gioeli: vocals
  • Mike Terrana: drums
  • Ferdy Doernberg: keyboards
  • Volker Krawczak: bass
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Higher
  • 02. Ain’t Gonna Win
  • 03. Angel Eyes
  • 04. Crossfire
  • 05. Touching My Soul
  • 06. Emotional Echoes
  • 07. Riding On An Arrow
  • 08. Tales Of The Crown
  • 09. Buried Alive
  • 10. Northern Lights