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Axel Rudi Pell - Circle Of The Oath

Axel Rudi Pell
Circle Of The Oath
by Mark Gromen at 09 February 2012, 10:49 AM

While instantly recognizable as Axel Rudi Pell, as much for Johny Gioeli’s amazing vocals as the German legend’s handiwork, the music is more contemporary. Relying less on the Blues based Hard Rock of his 70s mentor (Ritchie Blackmore), there’s a bouncy melody to most of the nine compositions (plus a short instrumental “The Guillotine Suite”, which opens the disc, although a live cover version of Dio-era RAINBOW’s “Temple Of The King” is available on the digi-pak). The title track sees Pellalone, strumming an acoustic guitar. Eventually Gioeli adds his voice and just short of three minutes, Axel plugs in, as they’re joined by the rest of the band. The whole things lasts 9:20! After the quasi-experimental (or at least loosening up the strings) of the first two-thirds of the platter, the latter portion reverts to form.

The seventh track, “Bridges To Nowhere”, is the first I’d classify as standard Axel Rudi Pell, a slower, emotive guitar number. Follow-up “Lived Our Lives Before” is the initial ballad, with an undercurrent of acoustic guitar and symphonic strings: a style Axel Rudi Pell has always done well; witness compilation discs entitled “Ballads I-IV”. The closing 9:30 “World Of Confusion” is subtitled “Masquerade Ball Pt. 2”, a connection to one of his biggest hits (even utilizing the aforementioned chorus, albeit a little more pompous/keyboard heavy arrangement).

Overall, a stylistic stretch of the wings that won’t offend old fans and might even gain a few new ones, especially on the European festival scene, where he often plays to mixed genre-loving crowds. Also a good place for newcomers to get onboard.

4 Star Rating

1. The Guillotine Suite (Intro)
2. Ghost In The Black
3. Run With The Wind
4. Before I Die
5. Circle Of The Oath
6. Fortunes Of War
7. Bridges To Nowhere
8. Lived Our Lives Before
9. Hold On To Your Dreams
10. World Of Confusion (The Masquerade Ball Pt. II)
Axel Rudi Pell– Guitar
Johnny Gioeli– Vocals
Mike Terrana– Drums
Ferdy Doernberg– Keyboards
Volker Krawczak- Bass
Record Label: SPV / Steamhammer Records


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