It’s safe to say that when it comes to heavy metal guitarists some of the biggest names have come out of European countries, from Yngwie Malmsteen (from Sweden) to Jari Mäenpää (Wintersun and from Finland.) Yet there is one name who for over a quarter of a century has stood out and that is the German former Steeler guitarist, Axel Rudi Pell.
Axel kicks off is sixteenth album release with the intro “Lenta Fortuna” which progresses into “Fire.” It is here where we are not only introduced to Axel himself but we are greeted by his sensational band, especially from lead vocalist Johnny Gioelli with his Ronnie James Dio/Tim “Ripper” Owens style vocals. This classic 80s metal sound and pace stays consistent throughout the album, primarily in in the songs “Falling Star” and “Breaking The Rules” with Axel’s sharp riffs kicking off each track.
Are you Black Sabbath (Ronnie James Dio years) fan? Ofcourse you are! Then the tracks you should listen to are “Lost In Love” and my personal favourite “Till The World Says Goodbye.” The latter track in particular almost sounds like you are listening to “Heaven And Hell,” just don’t get the two mixed up and start doing chanting. It’s in these tracks in particular where keyboardist Ferdy Doernberg’s atmospheric keyboard sound shines.
From the second the album begins to the second the “tenth” track ends the album is one of the finest pieces of metal I have ever listened to. Tasteful guitar solos, outstanding vocals and beautiful keyboard work helped make this album something else, it’s a shame it all goes down hill from here thanks to the bonus track. The final song of the digipac album is the band’s rendition of the classic Jimi Hen… I MEAN… Bob Dylan song “All Along The Watchtower.” I can see what the guys were trying to do with the song by giving it a more metal influence but to me personally it just did not work, which again was a real shame.
All in all the album is a very strong piece of material with a fantastic performance from both Axel Rudi Pell and his band. Bar the “All Along The Watchtower” cover the only downside I have with this album is that half the tracks on the album sound very samey. However, I hope the listener can look past this and hear this album as a solid piece of material from a band who are tighter than a Ballymena man’s wallet. This album will kick any metal head’s 2016 into gear nicely!
“Game Of Sins” will be available via Steamhamer on the 15th January 2016.
Lenta Fortuna / Fire / Sons In The Night / Falling Star / Lost In Love / The King Of Fools / Till The World Says Goodbye / Breaking The Rules / Forever Free / All Along The Watchtower (digipac bonus track)