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Axel Rudi Pell - The Ballads VI

Axel Rudi Pell
The Ballads VI
by Kevin Lewis at 24 May 2023, 3:51 AM

AXEL RUDI PELL is a German guitarist with a long history of putting out top notch music. His 21 albums and eight compilations speak volumes about his longevity and creativity. The Ballads VI is the eighth compilation album and is, as expected, full of ballads. The latest installment was released by Steamhammer on April 21, 2023. Opening the sixth installment of ballads is “Revelations,” a dreamy song with a seriously 80s vibe. There’s an influence here that is undeniable, the only question is this just personal taste of an homage to the era. Axel has been active in music since that time, so it may be a combination of both. Either way, the peaceful tone is a welcome relief after a stressful day. This is music to chill by, that’s for sure.

The second track is their take on an iconic song for two different bands. “Diamonds And Rust” was originally done by JOAN BAEZ as a folk song, then covered by JUDAS PRIEST as a heavy rendition meant to showcase the underlying power of the lyrics. AXEL RUDI PELL works to split the difference and does a good job of bringing the two versions together in harmony. The other cover song is equally as iconic. “Dust In The Wind” is a song that defined an era to a certain degree. Here, they stay a little more connected to the original, though Axel does ramp up the guitars a bit and there are some vocals that put more power and breath to the words. Both covers are good and serve to show off some of the other influences the band has.

There is a lot of killer lead work on the guitar and the voice is well done. Most ballads don’t lend themselves to having the bass or drums show out, so there is not a lot of “hold on to your hat” music from them. You do get a lot of solid, steady, precise work from them. Take “She’s A Lady” for example. It takes time for the drums to really enter the song, but when they do, they come in and drive the song just right. TOM JONES would be proud. The adaptation of “Put A Spell On You” is very different from what you might be used to. The guitar work, layered in with the keyboards give a really different sound than many of the songs on this record. The keys really accent the guitar work and round out the sound. There is a definite “old-school” feel to the this one.

Rounding out the record is “Quarantine I,” a track that sums up the last three years. The song feels like it’s emerging from isolation and ready to finally show itself to the world, almost like it’s been hidden and needed to finally break free. The whole album is full of killer, rhythmic, guitar-driven songs that will allow you to relax and take a deep breath. There is nothing tense or intense, just a bunch of songs that will allow you to let your hair down and enjoy life a bit more. Put this one on for the drive home from work and you will be ready to love the night without worrying about anything.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Revelations
2. Diamonds And Rust
3. Morning Star
4. Dust In The Wind
5. Hidden Secrets
6. Gone With The Wind
7. She's A Lady
8. Room With A View
9. Fly With Me
10. As Blind As A Fool Can Be
11. I Put A Spell On You
12. Beyond The Light
13. Quarantined
Johnny Gioeli – Lead/Backing Vocals
Volker Krawczak – Bass
Bobby Rondinelli – Drums
Axel Rudi Pell – Lead/Rhythm/Acoustic Guitar
Ferdy Doernberg – Keyboards
Record Label: SPV/Steamhammer


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