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Axel Rudi Pell – Sign of the Times

Axel Rudi Pell
Sign of the Times
by Jean-François ‘’Jackal’’ Poulin at 01 May 2020, 8:26 PM

AXEL RUDI PELL is a 5-Piece Heavy Power Metal band from Bochum, Germany. They celebrated thirty years of existence back in 2019 and they have been constantly hammering new albums since 1989 after Axel Rudi Pell left STEELER to create his own band. They have a very consistent lineup for the last twenty years or so except the addition of Bobby Rondinelli behind the kit back in 2013. If you don’t know AXEL RUDI PELL in the world of Metal, I don’t know where you have been hiding honestly because he has been a relative staple in Metal for over three decades.

I think the first time I ever heard about AXEL RUDI PELL was probably in the late 90’s in Metal Edge Magazine (remember that magazine kids?) and there was a lot of praise for him and I honestly never heard any of his music until today even though the name stood in my mind for all those years. He has a reputation of having a lot of ballads on his albums and I know that doesn’t please a lot of people but it’s his thing. This album has a ballad or two and even though they are cheesy, I think he knows what he is doing. You have a very good singer like Johnny Gioeli that pours his heart out on these songs and you can feel that emotion coursing through his veins. I am not a fan of these ballads but they do it the right way even if it’s not by cup of tea obviously.

I will say that Axel has a very good guitar tone, with a fairly beefy rhythm sound and a gorgeously smooth lead sound not to mention he’s pretty amazing at composing a shred solo. You can see he has some very classical influences and he has lightning speed picking. He puts his stamp on all the songs and he delivers his own distinct style throughout the album, no matter if it’s a ballad, a mid-tempo song or a ripping shredder. You have a tinge of Neoclassical Metal thrown in for good measure and reminded me a bit of the older YNGWIE MALMSTEEN albums yet it has that Power Metal feel about it. It’s like if you mixed MALMSTEEN and early HELLOWEEN maybe, it’s a styles mash up but it works.

The band’s performance is solid and at the top of their game on this album. You probably have the most underrated drummer of all time in Bobby Rondinelli has worked with bands like DORO, BLACK SABBATH, BLUE OYSTER CULT, RAINBOW among countless others, he is ridiculously talented and he shows off on this opus. Even though they have done so many albums in the past, if you don’t know them, this a great way to introduce newcomers to the band because of its high quality content. I really recommend this album to fans of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, IMPELLITERI and RACER X.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Black Serenade
2. Gunfire
3. Bad Reputation
4. Sign of the Times
5. The End of the Line
6. As Blind as a Fool Can Be
7. Wings of the Storm
8. Waiting for Your Call
9. Living in a Dream
10. Into the Fire
Victor Krawczak – Bass
Bobby Rondinelli – Drums
Axel Rudi Pell – Guitars
Johnny Gioeli – Vocals
Ferdy Doernberg – Keyboards
Record Label: SPV/Steamhammer


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Edited 01 February 2023

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