.@Planetmosh reviews #IntoTheStorm by #AxelRudiPell, out now on #Steamhammer
It’s hard to argue with German axeman Axel Rudi Pell‘s pedigree… this is his 15th studio album in around 25 years – which is a feat (especially when you couple that prodigious output with nearly as many cover sets, live releases and compilations) which many other artists in the modern era would find extremely difficult to emulate…
And the fact that, unlike many of his contemporaries, Pell has had more or less the same group of musicians working with him for more than half of that period as a solo artist means that this latest in that long line of releases sounds more like a cohesive band than… well, a solo artist exercising his own ego. The axemeister also seems to be very much from the Ronnie James Dio (from whom he openly admits he takes a great deal of inspiration, saying “there hasn’t been one day in my life when I haven’t by pushed by [his] spirit to write something mystical”) school of leadership: it may be your name up there in lights but to make the project work you have to park your ego and let it exercise the talents with which it is working: well, by and large… because, like RJD, ARP has a sound that is distinctly his own and cannot be mistaken for that of any other artiste
After 2012’s somewhat disappointingly derivative ‘Circle Of The Oath’, ARP has returned to his epic, powerful best with a collection of nine songs (only two of which veer below the dreaded five minute mark) which are well crafted, beautifully presented and excellently executed from beginning to end, with the guitarist by turns demonstrating enough self-restraint to allow the songs to breathe – and his fellow musicians to show their own expertise – and letting rip with some supreme shredding in his well-paced solo sections.
With the addition of the legendary Bobby Rondinelli adding extra weight to the bottom of the band’s sound, ably complemented by the solid bass work of Volker Krawczak, and Ferdy Doernberg’s eloquent and often understated keyboards, the songs sweep and soar with the majesty of an eagle marauding above the Bavarian forests, carried upon the ebbs and flows of both Pell’s re-invigorated guitar work and Johnny Gioeli’s statuesque vocals.
The only downside to this otherwise highly impressive album is the absolutely dire cover of ‘Hey Hey My My’, which almost forces you to hit the stop button before the monstrous closing title track, which neatly and coherently brings together all the best elements of the opus into one beautiful, storming passage de fin.
The Inquisitorial Procedure / Tower Of Lies / Long Way To Go / Burning Chains / When Truth Hurts / Changing Times / Touching Heaven / High Above / Hey Hey My My / Into The Storm
Recommended listening: Touching Heaven
‘Into The Storm’ is out now on Steamhammer / SPV. It is available as a ten track jewel case, a digipack CD (featuring two bonus tracks, including a cover of Blackmore’s Night’s ‘Way To Mandalay’), a double LP and CD package and a limited edition box set containing two LPs, the digi CD, a flag, metal pin, patch, plectrum, poster, sticker and postcard.
Axel Rudi Pell plays The Garage, London, on February 9th.