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Pell, Axel Rudi: The Crest

The Metal music geography is a strange one nowadays and while sometimes we find classic bands delivering an old school release that calls upon their past, there are others who take the chance and experiment just a little too much for their ardent admirers. With this in mind there is nothing quite like a band who opts to keep on delivering the sound that makes them successful an this is what we find when we start blasting the latest album from guitarist Axel Rudi Pell. For over twenty years, the German guitarist has been dishing out some very accessible Melodic Power Metal and its nice to see that he is still able to do so without the output sounding tired or repetitive. A dramatic intro leads us into the albums first official track "Too Late" and we quickly get this party started with the powerful register of his American singer Johnny Gioeli. It's a fast paced tune and one that serves well as the opener and might even be a good choice for the band in the live sense. I liked "Devil Zone" based on the overall way that the tune flowed along with its chorus. Clearly Pell was intent on keeping his audience happy with his new material. Believe it or not many of the initial ideas insofar as the music against the vocals, were done via the Skype program. That's kind of an Internet telephone software if you are unaware of it or what it does. That's pretty cool to see how the current technology can help compose what becomes an album. Skipping around a little bit we find the slow and trudging track "Dreaming Dead" and of course the almost pre-requisite ballad which we know Pell is rather fond of. This albums version comes via "Glory Night" ands its not a bad song for a number of this type. I guess we can assume it will make the musicians fourth collection of ballads when its release time comes. One of the tracks that will likely impress fans the most is the epic eight minute "Dark Waves Of The Sea". It's a continuation of his "Oceans Of Time" premise and it's a solid track without question. The album slows down again for a piano versus electric guitar interlude via "Noblisse Oblige" and it comes off as rather pleasant in its apparent simplicity. The album closes out with another cruncher in "The End Of Our Time" and I had to say that while I felt that the track was solid that I would have loved to find them pulling out the stops for the finale. Just a little more flash would have been nice in my humble opinion.

The band remains the same with bassist Volker Krawczak, keyboardist Ferdy Doernberg and drummer Mike Terrana so there is a consistency in the players that will appeal to the fans as well. From beginning to end I found this to be a sound recording but I did have one issue with how powerhouse drummer Mike Terrana pretty much sticks to basics and showcases very little of his amazing flair during the tracks. He is one of the best Metal drummers in the business so I love the chance to hear him knock down some walls on an album. Pell's playing is top drawer and while he has some flair he never seems to step outside of his familiar zone. Gioeli was commendable across the board without question. A booklet is provided with all the lyrics to the tunes and some cool artwork as well. The center of the booklet offers you an illustrated look at all of the ARP releases to date and the videos. It is perfect if you are building your collection from the beginning or wondering what you might be missing. In the end if it is tasty Melodic Power Metal that you are seeking then this is a good enough release to add to your collection and if you are one of the diehards of the mans talent then you will be happy to know that this edition can sit proudly and strong next to his earlier releases.

Track Listing:
1. Prelude of Doom (intro)
2. Too Late
3. Devil Zone
4. Prisoner Of Love
5. Dreaming Dead
6. Glory Night
7. Dark Waves of the Sea (Oceans of Time Pt. II: The Dark Side)
8. Burning Rain
9. Noblesse Oblige (Opus #5 Adagio Contabile)
10. The End Of Our Time

Added: June 13th 2010
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2607
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Pell, Axel Rudi: The Crest
Posted by Dean Pedley, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-05-21 00:15:39
My Score:

With 20 odd releases over a similar number of years German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell has to be one of the most prolific performers around. And in 2010 he presents us with 10 more new tracks on The Crest, an album that continues his long and successful partnership with vocalist Johnny Gioeli and finds them heading off into the previously uncharted waters of gospel and bluegrass.

Ok so maybe not...but what you do get here is some of the most impressive Melodic Metal of the year that maintains the high standard Pell has set on previous albums and will delight the faithful. The imposing cover art depicting two, sword wielding, Black Knights protecting a castle entrance gives a good idea of what to expect in the way of lyrical themes across titles such as "Devil Zone", "Dreaming Night" and "The End of our Time". After starting with the customary atmospheric instrumental "Prelude of Doom", Pell then leads the band into the fist pumping anthem that is "Too Late" with Gioeli making his presence felt. The impressive quality about a player like Pell is that he doesn't seek to dominate every single track and is content to give the other musicians an opportunity to shine as Ferdy Doernberg does with his haunting piano work on the immense ballad "Glory Night" and understated, gentle, instrumental "Noblesse Oblige". The albums stand out moment is the eight minute "Dark Waves of the Sea (Oceans of Time Pt II: The Dark Side)", a seafaring anthem that revisits the Oceans of Time concept from a few years back.

Pell does what he does and does it well. The Crest is another impressive addition to his expansive back catalogue.

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