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Axel Rudi Pell - Tales Of The Crown (CD)

Axel Rudi Pell
Tales Of The Crown
by Grigoris Chronis at 15 October 2008, 8:33 AM

Just one hour of Axel Rudi Pell music; Tales Of The Crown sees the 12th studio album for this esteemed German guitarist. Overlapping the 'same old song and dance' criticism (as if AC/DC, MOTORHEAD and RUNNING WILD have shown striking samples of diversity in their own discographies) it's essential to say Tales Of The Crown marks nearly twenty years of solo career and nearly twenty five(!) of 'metallic' discography for Axel (hailing from Bochum, Germany).
As expected, this 2008 release would not raise any objections whether the credited axeman has gone off his style, simply because he hasn't. Same lineup (the best the man's got?), matching artwork disclosure (Columbian artist Felipe Machado Franco, as in 2006's Mystica), an equal stint of songtitles and - most of all - the same recipe for fans (and anti-fans) in ten cuts with little to discuss about.
Samples from some (half, really) of the songs were exposed the last month, confirming Axel carries on his own tradition, a melodic Metal/Hard Rock blend with enough references to the Ritchie Blackmore/DEEP PURPLE/RAINBOW dogmas, dressed up in some romantic/mystique/epic ambience due to the sound of his guitar and the keys' deliverance. All songs are long enough in duration, but if you are an ARP fan you won't even notice.
Higher is groovy and narrative (rather weird for an opener), Ain't Gonna Win gets mid-to-fast-pace with some hardrockin' aura and a spice of 'modern' licks by Axel, Angel Eyes speeds things even more in the late RIOT path, Crossfire sees Tony Martin-ish vocals by Gioeli and a European 'groove Metal' tempo by the rhythm section, Touching My Soul is he first ballad-type song with an enormous solo, Emotional Echoes is an instrumental tune and has a 'simply Rock' backline, Riding On An Arrow sets things mid-tempo rockin' again with sharp riffing (reminds me of early 80s SCORPIONS?), Tales Of The Crown (continuing the saga with same-titled pieces) brings on some eerie in its beginning while it transforms in a mid-pace haven of storyline leniency (the intermezzo breathes tranquility, too), Buried Alive speeds fire but always in the familiar ARP principles and Northern Lights wraps up the album in mildness; the second ballad of the CD.
Johnny Gioeli is in top performance, again. HARDLINE's vocalist can as well be a lethal weapon for Axel; his voice is strong and passionate, but always velvet and 'moody' were needed. Axel Rudi Pell shows his teeth again; conscious in playing, determined to perform well-worked compositions; would not ask for something more. Volker Krawczak (an old mate of Axel from the STEELER days) and Mike Terrana (half of the metal bands I know, haha!) have significantly risen up their loudness, pounding along with wrath and perception. Ferdy Doernberg (ROUGH SILK, EDEN'S CURSE) fits the job and - in addition - supplies his experience (both as an ARP member and own musician) 'between the lines'.
Tales Of The Crown will not make you change your opinion for Axel Rudi Pell. If you've followed up to his career, then you'll get this CD too. If you don't belong to his fan base, he also won't win you with this one. Fact is - either way - Axel Rudi Pell's alive and kickin; with sequence and punctuality in his works. A low-profile and high-admiration artist. Do you know many solo guitarists focusing on the songs themselves rather than exposing their own  self-absorption?

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Higher
Ain't Gonna Win
Angel Eyes
Crossfire
Touching My Soul
Emotional Echoes
Riding On An Arrow
Tales Of The Crown
Buried Alive
Northern Lights
Lineup:
Johnny Gioeli - Vocals
Axel Rudi Pell - Guitars
Volker Krawczak - Bass
Mike Terrana - Drums
Ferdy Doernberg - Keyboards
Record Label: SPV/Steamhammer
     


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