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Axel Rudi Pell - Into The Storm

Axel Rudi Pell
Into The Storm
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein / YngwieViking at 22 December 2013, 12:12 AM


Since the first years of this band, which was once considered a side project back in the late 80's, Axel Rudi Pell, under his own moniker, has been nurturing a different kind of Heavy Metal with breaking the chains of the old STEELER bounds that heaved of the reek of Teutonic Metal and right into the mouth of British Hard Rock / Heavy Metal al'a 70's RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE along with the mystifying skirmishes of early 80's BLACK SABBATH and DIO. Flaking with enchanting melodies from all ends and robust overall production reliving the classy years, Axel Rudi Pell has been quite a constant figure with his music, though at first attributed several Hair Metal features in the interior his Traditional Metal perception, kind of like the "Nasty Reputation" era, but generally, nothing musically ground breaking has been going during the course of his discography, even the riff patterns, which several has been quite special and nostalgic, didn't leave any surprises behind. With the release of "Into The Storm", via SPV / Steamhammer Records (the continual home of the artist for years), featuring the new crew member in the figure of the legendary drummer Bobby Rondinelli (ex-BLACK SABBATH / ex-DORO / ex-RAINBOW), is as excepted, the continuance of a legacy and its characteristics.

However folks, maybe I wasn't that accurate with my comments regarding Rudi Pell's perpetual Rock / Metal arrangements manufactures. As it would seem, not that he over stepped his boundaries, Rudi Pell probably generated one of his foremost Metalized RAINBOW type albums in the last period of time. In overall, the album's song structure is quite similar to Rudi Pell's earlier releases, meaning hard pounding songs of Hard N' Heavy, a power ballad, possible cover and an epic majestic ending to close down the wall. Nonetheless, "Into The Storm" introduced a kind of quality and atmosphere that are surreal. Even if the music attained a Rocking posture, and even if a number of the riffs appeared quite identical to his earlier works, suitable example on this album is "Changing Times" that was good but slightly hackneyed, the song arrangements maintained Rudi Pell's paramount ability to write catchy and anthem kind of songs that will easily penetrate your very soul, well also partially credited to his long ongoing team, other than Rondinelli that recently completed the line-up's picture. "Long Way to Go" that screamed loudly of RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE, but heavier, with its antics and power riff direction and the canny Metallic embedding for Neil Young's "Hey Hey My My", which also preserved Johnny Gioeli's standout ability as a crowned frontman. Although the final epic song "Into the Storm" turned out to be gradually monotonic right up to its end, and it can't be compared to Rudi Pell's classics like "The Masquerade Ball" for instance, yet undoubtedly more than its half is an Arabian / desert infused journey of clandestine and mystery. "Tower of Lies", "High Above", heavily on RAINBOW "Burning Chains" and the emotive Rocker "Touching Heaven" bestowed great quality arrangements and exceptional lead section, played their part with the utmost refinement, preserving Rudi Pell's flowing harmonic Metal on the verge of the Blackmore phase.

Hard to describe "Into The Storm" as not of a special brand. It is true that Axel Rudi Pell isn't turning tables, keeping to his formula that has been bringing him only success and achievements. A bit towards the mid 70's British Hard Rock and proto Metal, this album, without being overwhelmingly creative, is yet another excellent cruise through Axel Rudi Pell's Metal music interpretation along with a grand display of his guitaring abilities that are a sight for sore eyes.


I was a fan of STEELER back in the days, and it seems that they will reform the band, this summer for the BYH fest, so I’m thrilled. Nevertheless, I never was impressed by Axel Rudi Pell’s performances, neither his music, yet strangely we have some common point, I’m also a RAINBOW / Richie Blackmore die-hard fan exactly like him and some of his historic singers are on the top of my favorite list: Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen’s RISING FORCE / TALISMAN / ex-JOURNEY / W.E.T.) of course but also the great Rob Rock (IMPELLITTERI / DRIVER / ex-M.A.R.S. / ex-JOSHUA) and the more than competent Johnny Gioeli (HARDLINE), however I always felt in a distance with his songs, I never really liked his guitar tone, his global sound, his songwriting skills(?): average at best nothing more.

The guitarist holds a great following of disciples, the legions fans are ecstatic and full of great expectations, well, it seems that, they will be pleased and even more than happy with this new release, because it’s exactly yes I mean exactly the same as the previous album, so no surprise. Ok, maybe, the ambiance is a little less thick and the songs are shorter (except the 10”+ lackluster title track “Into The Storm”) or maybe less in the same pathetic phraseology, a few are even quite good like “Changing Times” or the clearly RAINBOWish “Burning Chains” (the best cut by far), but finally as a whole it’s a little short on the creativity and a little boring. The Neil Young cover is a little bland and "Hey Hey My My" will not bring anything new to the album except to reinforce the fact that Gioeli is a good vocalist, that’s for sure.

Good point, is the fat drums sound of ex-RAINBOW / BLUE OYSTER CULT’s Bobby Rondinelli (a guy who can be named as one of the most underrated drums basher still alive) but for me, it still sounds the same somewhere between “Mystica” and “Tales Of The Crown” (2008) , but still 1998’s “Oceans Of Time” was better.

So I believe you get my point by now, if you are a fanatic blind pilgrim under the oath of the Germanic AXEL RUDI PELL's cult, it’s a recommended buying, and it's clearly the opposite side if you are one among others in the non-believers camp.

3 Star Rating

1. The Inquisitorial Procedure
2. Tower of Lies
3. Long Way to Go
4. Burning Chains
5. When Truth Hurts
6. Changing Times
7. Touching Heaven
8. High Above
9. Hey Hey My My (Neil Young cover)
10. Into the Storm
Volker Krawczak – Bass
Axel Rudi Pell – Guitars
Ferdy Doernberg – Keyboards
Johnny Gioeli – Vocals
Bobby Rondinelli - Drums
Record Label: SPV / Steamhammer Records


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