• Axel Rudi Pell - Game Of Sins

    Released by: Steamhammer/SPV
    Released on: January 22nd, 2016.
    Purchase From Amazon

    We've been reviewing German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell's new albums at RSP! for a while now, so the first question is: how does this stack up against the excellent "Into The Storm" studio set and last year's sumptuous live set?

    Quite well actually.

    Pell does a very specific kind of traditional metal to a high standard. The mix of RAINBOW "Rising" era epic metal with the slicker "Heaven And Hell" period BLACK SABBATH sound with a pinch of the golden era JUDAS PRIEST ear for catchy songwriting is how I'd describe it. The riffs are crunchy and the playing - especially axeman Pell - tend to the melodious and tasteful end of the HM spectrum. This isn't the dirtier kind of power metal that fellow Germans like U.D.O. of GRAVE DIGGER traffic in. And while it's got plenty of balls, the softer passages and semi-ballads still have plenty of conviction.

    The only real flaw with Pell's approach is that the material can sometimes feel a bit samey or at its most troublesome, derivative of other classic band's songs. "Till The World Says Goodbye" for example, despite being hugely enjoyable, evokes BLACK SABBATH's "Heaven And Hell" just a bit too closely. There's definitely some metal time warp thing going on here as well with the album intro recalling the gag that kicked off ACCEPT's "Restless And Wild" and the novelty bonus track cover of the Bob Dylan/Hendrix staple "All Along The Watchtower". In fact, Pell has structured "Game Of Sins" very similarly to his previous studio release - right down to the oddball cover version.

    The players here are all solid professionals, with singer Johnny Gioelli continuing especially to impress. This guy has great natural range and phrasing and is in the same talent wheelhouse as the likes of Dio and Dickinson. Pell also knows how to mix keyboards in the band's sound without compromising the metal edge - something Ritchie Blackmore was a master of back in the day. Of the tracks on this album, my favorite is probably the straight ahead "Fire" and the perfectly crafted "Lost In Love".

    So what's the bottom line here? I'd recommend picking this up for previous fans and anyone who loves traditional metal. Pell has been around for a while and you are in very capable hands with this one. German craftsmanship: it ain't just cars.


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