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Axel Rudi Pell - Diamonds Unlocked (CD)

Axel Rudi Pell
Diamonds Unlocked
by Grigoris Chronis at 23 September 2007, 7:36 PM

Axel Rudi Pell is the man you rarely will hear someone say something nasty about. It's not only the delight of his music but also the calmness of his character, his low profile plus the fact that he has served the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal genre for nearly a quarter of a century with pure honesty and nothing less than devotion for music. Diamond Unlocked is the German guitarist's latest studio release, an album roofed with covers from artists he admires or - better noted - simply songs he lust likes to bring the A.R.P. aura to.
The 47-year-old axeman offers a great surprise in this album's tracklist. But, on second thought, someone familiar with the man's deeds should expect something like this. Meaning: the original tracks are not only (generally) Rock tunes but also come from rather 'alien' music genres. Pell has done this before - remember the ALPHAVILLE synch/pop hit Forever Young covered in 1993's The Ballads album? - and verifies he can cut any tune to his own size.
The same goes around here, in half the album. In Phil Collins' In The Air Tonight the band preserves the original tempo but adds some more majestic keyboards, in U2's It's A Beautiful Day the song is transformed into a mid-tempo melodic rocker, in Like A Child Again I have no idea what the cover's up to - since I don't know how the 'original' sounds - but it sounds tasty, plus Stone (originally penned by Chris Rea while it was 'updated' by Paul Rodgers' THE LAW in the early 90's) turns out to be a completely emotional AOR/Hard Rock gem.
On the Rock field, I was thrilled to see Axel paying homage to RIOT (he and Mark Reale surely have much in common), FREE and THE WHO - all three versions being impressive - while Rock The Nation reminded me of the importance of this gigantic US band back in the 70s (VAN HALEN's Sammy Hagar sprang out of MONTROSE). Last but not least, the Love Gun acoustic take may make you stiff upper lip at first, while you'll sing along in the last chorus. Not bad at all!
The A.R.P. band is in great mood: Johnny Gioeli (HARDLINE) preserves the same top quality in his voice while Doernberg's keys cover up a whole great vibe by verifying all songs are now in the Axel Rudi Pell 'vein'. And, if you wanna know, that's the important thing: all ten songs do sound like Axel Rudi Pell songs. Isn't this the epitome of making up a remarkable cover version, eventually?

4 Star Rating

The Diamond Overture (Intro)
Warrior (originally performed by RIOT)
Beautiful Day (originally performed by U2)
Stone (originally performed by Chris Rea/THE LAW)
Love Gun (originally performed by KISS)
Fools Game (originally performed by Michael Bolton)
Heartbreaker (originally performed by FREE)
Rock The Nation (originally performed by MONTROSE)
In The Air Tonight (originally performed by Phil Collins)
Like A Child Again (originally performed by THE MISSION)
Won/t Get Fooled Again (originally performed by THE WHO)
Axel Rudi Pell - Guitars
Johnny Gioeli - Vocals
Mike Terrana - Drums
Ferdy Doernberg - Keyboards
Volker Krawczak - Bass
Record Label: SPV


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