Axel Rudi Pell - 'The Crest' (Deluxe Edition) Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 21, 2011    
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Re-Issue of the Axel Rudi Pell album.

The recent upsurge in 'Deluxe Edition' reissues of previously released albums is clearly cause for consternation amongst the hard rock fraternity, and it's not hard to see why. Ok, in the grand scheme of things I suppose I can see the point in remastered/expanded editions of albums originally released years ago – Leppard's 'Pyromania' and 'Hysteria' sets for example are excellent – but there's an increasing tendency to repackage stuff that's only been out for a matter of months. Fans are (quite rightly) decrying it as a rip off and a slap in the face for those who supported the original release, and going forward it's only going to make people more wary of jumping in when in all likelihood a better version will be available in a couple of months.

That said, for the time being at least the practice seems to be here to stay (it's been used in the pop world for a number of years now), and more often than not it does make for a superior all round package – Axel Rudi Pell's latest studio album 'The Crest' being a prime example. Originally released last spring, 'The Crest' was a bit of a landmark for Pell insofar as it completely reversed the downward trend his albums had taken ever since the 'Shadow Zone' effort back in 2002. In absolute terms the three subsequent studio releases weren't awful by any means, it was just that none of them got within a mile of the Rainbowesque brilliance that the ex Steeler guitarist and his band attained on the four album run in the late 90's ('Black Moon Pyramid' to 'The Masquerade Ball'). 

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For those of you who didn't purchase it at the time, should you need a reason to do so now just refer back to my previous review of this very tome. I can only restate the case for this being Pell back to his bombastic best; emotive, hook laden tracks such as 'Dark Waves Of The Sea', 'The End Of Our Time', 'Burning Rain', 'Dreaming Dead' and 'Devil Zone' harking back to the aforementioned epoch when he really could do no wrong. The playing is fantastic, the songwriting top grade – and when you factor in Johnny Gioeli's inimitable vocal roar and a stunning mix down from Charlie Bauerfiend, I still stand by my original assessment.

Question is though, what about those who did buy it? Where's the incentive to shell out again for an album you've already bought once? Well, for starters the packaging has been completely revamped and has a new booklet with new artwork (although personally speaking, I still prefer the original). The album itself has been expanded with the addition of a bonus track in the shape of a seriously extended reworking of 'Dreaming Dead' – and by seriously extended I mean it's now in excess of eleven minutes! But for me, as a serious Pell fan what really tips it is the inclusion of a second disc which features the band's show from the 'Rock Of Ages' festival in July 2009. It's been the best part of a decade since the 'Knights Live' set, so it's great to hear that the band can still rip it up on stage.

I'm still not convinced that this is the right way for record companies to go, but hats off for making a great album that little bit extra special.

Dave Cockett

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