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Axel Rudi Pell - Into The Storm

Label: SPV
Format: CD download
Released: 2014
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 7.5/ 10


Three decades into the German guitarist’s career, don’t expect any radical changes…although sacking American drummer Mike Terrana, after 15 years of service, over a scheduling conflict, raised a few eyebrows. Always a Rainbow and Dio fan, Bobby Rondinelli now sits behind the skins. You can hear more than a hint of those bands in several of these eight originals.

 

Opening (as usual) with an instrumental intro (‘The Inquisitorial Procedure’), the main instrument is not Pell’s axe, but Ferdy Doernberg’s synthesizer, eventually leading into the aggressive ‘Tower Of Lies’, possessing a repetitive, easy to sing-along, set of lyrics and an atypical gritty guitar tone. As always, singer Johnny Gioeli soars above the fray, one of the greatest unsung (pun intended) voices in metal. ‘Long Way To Go’ locks into the patented Pell infectious, mid-tempo rocker with an undercurrent owing a nod to Dio’s ‘Hungry For Heaven’. ‘Burning Chains’ is one of those Blackmore inspired numbers, think ‘Can’t Happen Here’ in the background. Piano kicks off the ‘The Truth Hurts’ ballad, while a little bit of countrymen Accept is evident in the opening of ‘Changing Times’ (prophetic title?). Big Hammond organ sounds on ‘Touching Heaven’, but not sure why a somber, piano/orchestral strings laden (leaden?) version of ‘Hey Hey My My’ (Neil Young) needs to be included (especially when there’s an original included as a bonus on the digi-pak, along with Axel’s rendition of ‘Way to Mandalay, from Blackmore’s Night). The concluding title track begins with haunting Highland pipes, giving way to chunky riffs from the blond haired, black Fu Manchu mustache six-string wizard and the odd Eastern mysticism. It’s never been about blazing scales, but tasteful solos within a melodic, hook-filled song. Still a class act!

 
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