Renowned 53-year old German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell first established himself as part of the heavy metal group STEELER. After releasing four underrated studio albums with them, Pell launched a successful solo career, this being the fifteenth studio album (featuring his own material). The Axel Rudi Pell solo band also features lead vocalist Johnny Gioeli from HARDLINE, keyboardist Ferdy Doernberg from HELLOWEEN, Pell’s former STEELER band mate Volker Krawczak, and all-star drummer Bobby Rondinelli, well-known for his work in BLACK SABBATH, QUIET RIOT and RAINBOW.
After the intro “The Inquisitorial Procedure,” the band provides us a heavy metal song that sounds like a classic from the ’80s, “Tower of Lies,” with excellent riffs and Gioeli’s superb job on vocals, and fantastic solo from Pell. The energy level remains high with “Long Way To Go,” an awesome hard rock song that has a ton of energy. Then comes “Burning Chains,” with its awesome intro and the play between Pell on guitar and Ferdy Doernberg on keyboards. The over seven minute “Touching Heaven” has a bit of an old school metal feel to it that I loved, and features some modern flourishes as well, and the band’s remake of NEIL YOUNG’s “Hey Hey My My” is one of the better covers of this song. The ballad “When Truth Hurts“ has beautiful lyrics and a great vocal performance by Gioeli. Things get rocking again with “Changing Times” and its nice keyboards, gritty riffing and another classic solo that blew me away. “High Above” has soaring vocals and awesome playing by the entire band that it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser with people raising fists and singing along. The album’s closing track “Into The Storm” is an over ten minute long masterpiece that really blew my mind and just may be one of the album’s greatest moments and is a great example of how to compose long songs without boring the listener.
From start to finish this is an album that deserves to be played loud, often and all over the radio, sadly radio sucks so much that the only way to get this album popular is to buy it, play it for your friends and get them to buy a copy. If only more bands would put as much work into their albums as was put into this one, I would be a happier listener and reviewer…great stuff!