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Axel Rudi Pell - Game of Sins

Axel Rudi Pell
Game of Sins
by MarcusTheRocker at 27 January 2016, 6:08 PM

No matter how many times I get asked whom it was that started off my Heavy Metal journey, my answer will always remain as Axel Rudi Pell, whom I discovered sometime in the year 2009. For seven years since that day, I have collected all of his albums, heard all his material, and seen him live in concert twice. Whenever Axel announces a new music release, I always get excited, as I know it will be brilliant, and the past couple of albums have proved just that. Can his new album “Game of Sins” continue that trend of excellent Heavy Metal music? Let us find out shall we?

Clocking in at around 58 minutes or 64 if you get the deluxe version, the new ARP album contains 10 (11 on the deluxe version) brand new recordings that starts off with a usual intro and ends in a ballad. This is the formula that you expect from ARP nowadays but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it means you know what to expect when it comes to the music.

When you start listening to it, you know what you’re in for if you’ve listened to any of the previous albums. Starting off with the intro “Lenta Fortuna”, this short instrumental seems to use a pirate theme to it in terms of the arrangement. After the intro, the record launches into the opening vocal number, “Fire”, which, as is expected from the previous ARP records, is heavy, wild and hard hitting with powerful melodies, punchy vocals and savage guitar riffs.

Throughout the rest of the album, we are treated to the usual ARP formula and style of songwriting, including heavy hitters such as “Sons in the Night”, “The King of Fools” and “Falling Star”, epics including the title track and “When the World Says Goodbye” and of course a ballad or two, including “Lost in Love” and “Falling Free”.

At this point I’d usually point out any flaws in an album but because it’s ARP, I’m going to make an exception, or so I’d usually say. As someone who has been a fan for a few years and has listened to pretty much everything he has released, I’m actually feeling a little conflicted for the first time. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t think this album is as strong as the previous few releases.

I do kind of like the new songs but at the same time, I’m not sure if they stack up to the previous material. I will give the band credit for sounding as tight as usual, with special mentions going to Johnny Gioeli, who is still giving an outstanding vocal performance as usual, but I’m unsure about the rest of it.

Call me cynical, but I don’t think this is Axel’s best work, as there are bits I do like, but there are bits I’m unsure about. One example of something I was unsure about is that the melodies and the music, sound a step or two toned down from the previous albums, or at least they do to my ears. I think this resulted in the songs not sounding as awesome and epic as they usually do but that could just be me.

I will still give Axel respect and credit for his talent as a guitarist, and the fact that he does not want to stray away from his musical style, but I think the time has come for him to try something new, and maybe record something in a different style just to see how it turns out, as nowadays his music is very predictable as we know what to expect every time.

Bottom line, the new Axel Rudi Pell CD, “Game of Sins”, may not be as strong as the previous couple of albums but there is still material you can enjoy as there a couple of likeable songs. If you’re a die hard ARP or Heavy Metal fan, then I do highly recommend this one, but if you were expecting something a bit different, then maybe look elsewhere or give one or two songs a listen and see what you think.

3 Star Rating

1. Lenta Fortuna (Intro)
2. Fire
3. Sons in the Night
4. Game of Sins
5. Falling Star
6. Lost in Love
7. The King of Fools
8. Till the World Says Goodbye
9. Breaking the Rules
10. Forever Free
11. All Along the Watchtower (Digipak Bonus Track)
Axel Rudi Pell - Guitar
Johnny Gioeli - Vocals
Volker Krawczak - Bass
Ferdy Doernberg - Keys
Bobby Rondinelli - Drums
Record Label: SPV/Steamhammer Records


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