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Pell, Axel Rudi: Mystica

Mystica is the eleventh studio album from German guitar hero and Ritchie Blackmore admirer Axel Rudi Pell. On hand is Johnny Gioeli on vocals, Ferdy Doernberg on keyboards, and the precision drumming of Mike Terrana. This time around, Pell has kept his penchant for ballads in check and delivered a solid set of tracks. "Fly to the Moon" is a no-nonsense opener - fast, powerful and energetic. "Rock the Nation" is in slower territory (of late, Pell's comfort zone), which allows his soloing skills to shine in between the simple choruses. "Living a Lie" sits comfortably in Rainbow territory - a catchy song that rocks. "No Chance to Live" is a ballad and spotlights one of Pell's weaknesses - having a song slow enough to do some really soulful soloing, but not having enough ideas to maintain one's interest. The epic track "Mystica" is one of the album's standouts, dark and heavy with a bit of that medieval castle magic. Sonically, it's kind of parked halfway between early Rainbow and Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath, with the Blackmore-inflected stylings in full force across the two-minutes solo. "Haunted Castle Serenade" is a tasteful neoclassical-styled instrumental, featuring the kind of virtuosity that first put him on the musical map. "Losing the Game" is one of the album's best cuts, complete with an outstanding guitar solo. "The Curse of the Damned" is another long cut with a very fast instrumental section sandwiched between the slow opener and closer. Pell's fingers are flying pretty fast here, and the keyboards are very strong (giving off more than a hint of the Rainbow sound). This may very well be a favorite Pell album from the Goeli era, and honestly I haven't enjoyed an Axel Rudi Pell release this much in a long time.

Track Listing
1. The Mysterious Return (Intro)
2. Fly to the Moon
3. Rock the Nation
4. Valley of Sin
5. Living a Lie
6. No Chance to Live
7. Mystica
8. Haunted Castle

Added: November 9th 2006
Reviewer: John Larocque
Related Link: Axel Rudi Pell Website
Hits: 2372
Language: english

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