"The Crest" (SPV; 2010)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton


"The Crest" is the 14th studio album by Axel Rudi Pell and, after all those albums and years, there are no signs of slowing down.

I'm often asked what it is that draws me to the hard rock / heavy metal sound. My answer is usually: "Loud guitars." Yeah, that answer is more of a smart ass response than 100% accurate but there is some truth there. It's the sound of the guitars that I love. And throughout "The Crest," Axel Rudi Pell makes his guitars do everything, from chunky power chords to blistering leads to acoustic passages to galloping riffs. It's a potpourri of great guitar music. Add to that some great melodic songwriting, powerful vocals and a band that's tight as hell and you've got one terrific album.

The obligatory ballad ("Glory Night") slows things down a bit at one point but it's a pretty great ballad so no damage is done. And "Noblesse Oblige," the album's only instrumental, may catch you off guard but its David Gilmour-esque tones will soon draw you in.

There are those who might complain that Axel Rudi Pell doesn't do anything wildly different here but they will be vastly outnumbered by those who will be thrilled by another solid album from the band. You know the old adage: If it ain't broke, don't fix it ... and there's nothing that needs fixing here.

Performing on "The Crest" are: Johnny Gioeli Vocals; Axel Rudi Pell Guitars; Volker Krawczak Bass; Mike Terrana Drums; Ferdy Doernberg Keyboards.

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"The Ballads III" (SPV; 2005)

Reviewed by Mike SOS


Hard rockin' German axeman Axel Rudi Pell has put out his third collection of ballads here on the appropriately titled "The Ballads III." 

This 11-track collection sounds like 1988 all over again, so much so that the only thing missing is a can of Aqua Net and some fringed leather jackets. However, fans of the beleaguered but ultimately memorable entity known as the power ballad will rejoice over this collection. 

Compiling the softer side of Pell's last three releases with three new cuts (one of which being a soulful cover of Rainbow's "The Temple of the King"), "The Ballads III" may not be an essential purchase. But, if you're a fan with a completist complex or are just a little curious on how little the power ballad has changed over the last twenty years, this CD is for you. 

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2010 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 18 Dec 2016 12:46:21 -0500.