CD Reviews

Axel Rudi Pell - 'The Crest' Hot

Added by James Gaden     May 13, 2010    
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Follow up to 'Tales of the Crown' from the German guitarist.

This record doesn’t see any huge changes in the German’s sound since his last album ‘Tales Of The Crown’. If you liked that one, this one should keep you equally entertained. Pell has always had the good sense to surround himself with good musicians and fine singers to flesh out his songs. Rob Rock was a suitable foil, then the more refined Jeff Scott Sotto and the present, equally accomplished, vocalist Johnny Gioeli helps raise this record over its European contempories.
‘Devil Zone’, which starts with a little baroque flavoured acoustic guitar, lulls you in, before a nuclear riff blasts in, and takes your eyebrows off, and Gioeli’s vocal is as commanding as Dio in his full pomp. This song is the pick of the bunch, although the pulsating ‘Burning Rain’ isn’t far behind. If you yearn for the days when Ritchie Blackmore made majestic rock with Rainbow, then Pell’s music is your pot of gold. ‘Dreaming Dead’ and ‘Dark Waves Of The Sea’ are proof of this, combining old school metal with Teutonic power to good effect. ‘Prisoner Of Love’ is decent radio rock that the Scorpions would be proud of and the grandiose ballad ‘Glory Night’ wouldn’t be out of place on Gioeli’s other band Hardline.
If you want to pick fault then you could argue that there are no surprises musically or lyrically and it’s steeped in metal clichés, but when it’s done as professionally and proficiently as it is here, then I defy you, if you’ve got a metal bone in your body, not to pump your fist in the air at some point during the record. Pell’s solos are effortlessly melodious and emotive. Ferdie Doernberg, of Rough Silk, adds keyboard layers that fill out the sound and create a suitable overblown atmosphere. The huge thumping production adds extra gloss. Trends and bands come and go but classy metal acts like Axel Rudi Pell should last as long as ‘The Oceans of Time’ they sing about.
Duncan Jamieson
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