"Diamonds Unlocked, Pt II" (Steamhammer; 2021)

Reviewed by Snidermann


Axel Rudi Pell has been around heavy music since 1989 and, of course, I have heard of him. Sadly, I never did get around to reviewing them. At first, I always thought it was a band but, a few years ago, I found out it was a single person. I found his "Diamonds Unlocked II" on my Apple Music app and thought now was a good a time as any to familiarize myself with his music.

I started to listen to "Diamonds Unlocked II" and I found I knew the song I was listening to. Lo and behold, it was Sammy Hagar's "There's Only One Way To Rock." You know what this means, people; yes, this is a covers album. Someone doing someone else's music and I do love good covers music if is done right. And, I have to say that ARP did a great job on this recording. The tracklisting looks like this:

"Der Schwarze Abt (Intro)" (as far as I can figure out this means "The Black Abbott.")
Lady of the Lake" by Ronnie James Dio and Richie Blackmore
She’s A Lady" by Paul Anka
"Black Cat Women" by Vic Malcolm, guitarist for the band Geordie. That happens to be the band Brian Johnson came from when he replaced Bon Scott as the singer of AC/DC.
Room With A View" by Tony Carey, a keyboardist for Rainbow. This cat has been around for ever and a day. Just go online for a full bio. This guy has led an interesting career.
Sarah" by Chris Norman and Pete Spencer. Chris Norman was a singer in a band called Smokie and Pete. Spencer was the original drummer for the Spencer Davis Group.
Rock and Roll Queen" by Bill Lunn, Charlotte Cooper and Josh Morgan. They are in a punk band called The Subways.
Paint It Black" by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. I think you know who they are.
I Put A Spell On You" by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. The original song was released in 1956 and if you were to look online you'll see this tune has been covered and recovered numerous times. I actually like this one done by ARP the best.
Eagle" by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus. This is an actual ABBA song that needs to be witnessed. I love the band ABBA and I really like this rendition of the classic ABBA tune.

As you can tell, I had to research a lot for this review. The songs were obscure so I had to so look up the info, not only for this review, but for my own edification. This has to be the most fun I have had listening to (and writing a review) to a release of cover tunes that I have every experienced. If I could give it more chain saws, I would but, alas, I cannot. Right on, Axel Rudi Pell! Outstanding job! And thank you for picking strange and wondrous tunes for all of us to enjoy. And enjoy I did, extremely so.

For more information, check out

"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.

For more information, check out

"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. 

For more information, check out

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.

Back to CD Reviews Home

Back to Home

Copyright © 2021 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.