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[ALBUM REVIEW] AXEL RUDI PELL: The Ballads V

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AXEL RUDI PELL: The Ballads V cover

Since leaving the influential German metal band Steeler in 1989, Axel Rudi Pell has recorded and toured with some of the finest vocalists; Charlie Huhn (Ted Nugent, Gary Moore, Victory, Humble Pie, Foghat), Rob Rock (Impelliteri, Driver, Joshua, Avantasia), my personal favourite Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen, Soul Sirkus, Talisman, Journey, Trans-Siberian Orchestra) and last but not least the mighty Johnny Gioeli who has been working with Axel since 1997. The saying goes that ‘loud guitars do always come up with the most tender tunes’ and Axel has created a brilliant album. With guest singer Bonnie Tyler, a powerhouse vocalist, the first song on the track ‘Love’s Holding On’ transports you back to the 80’s where some of the best power ballads had been crafted. The song ‘Love’s Holding On’ is a new track from Pell, written just for Bonnie Tyler. Axel was quoted saying, “Bonnie Tyler only records songs she personally likes, so I wrote this tune just for her and she really loved it. She came to the studio and we recorded it within a couple of hours. The result is amazing – another soon-to-be Pell classic in the making. If I hadn’t been a fan already, I would have turned into one instantly.”

The talent of Axel and Johnny doesn’t just stop there, with Ferdy Doernberg on the keyboard, Volker Krawczak on the bass and Bobby Rondinelli on drums, it makes for an amazing ballad album. Every part fits amazingly together.

Track two is ‘I See Fire’ which is an Ed Sheeran cover. This can be difficult, covering a pop song. However,  Axel gave it that rock ballad feel and nailed it. Along with the first two tracks, the third track ‘On the Edge of Our Time’ is a 7:42 song where the guitars just take you away and is fascinating from beginning to end. The amazing vocals of Johnny Gioeli are evident on the brilliant ‘Hey Hey My My’, which includes the singalong line ‘Hey Hey My My, rock and roll can never die.’ This song is a new take on Neil Young’s ‘Hey Hey My My’, inspired by the legendary TV series Sons Of Anarchy. Johnny’s vocals are amazing. I don’t know about anyone else but rock and roll never die and if talented musicians continue to release music like this, rock will not fade away.

There’s another classic track in a brand-new guise, Deep Purple’s mighty ‘Mistreated’ was recorded during Axel’s monumental 25-year anniversary show in Balingen in July 2014 with Doogie White (ex-Rainbow, MSG) on vocals and erstwhile Rainbow keyboard legend Tony Carey. Axel said, “It was a 14-minute emotional ride for everybody involved on that stage that night.”

There is also a previously unreleased live recording of his own ballad ‘The Line‘ from last year’s ‘Rock Of Ages’ festival which Axel co-headlined. He said, “All in all this compilation defined itself all on its own. You’ve got the new songs, the familiar ones and the live versions at the end.”

The last track on the album is a live recording. The great thing about live recordings is the raw voices and the audience, which automatically transports you as if you are there.

Axel has established himself as an outstanding rock star, having sold close to 1.5 million records worldwide. And there’s no end in sight to the music, as at this very moment Axel is writing new material for his upcoming album, which will be recorded in autumn and released at the beginning of 2018.

Overall, The Ballads V is an awesome album from extremely talented musicians. Bring on the next album!

5/5 stars

 

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