Axel Rudi Pell
6/25/2010 - Review by: Eric Compton
A shining star of his catalogue
I'm not sure if Axel Rudi Pell has ever sounded better. Honestly, this guy has been burnin' six strings since '84 and "The Crest" may be the Holy Grail he has been searching for. I've followed his exploits from day one, with the "prime time" being his collaborative works with legendary vocalist Jeff Scott Soto. While I've always enjoyed album after album, this new recording is just a shining star of his catalogue.
For the first time in his career, Pell stepped up to produce his own work with additional assistance with mixing from the esteemed Charlie Bauerfeind. The production values are stellar with plenty of attention to detail from the hard hitting drum work to the extraordinary bass lines and up front guitar work. The sound just really stands out and sets itself apart from previous releases. Pell quoted "there's real teamwork in our band" and it clearly shows this time around.
I found it interesting during the pre-release that Pell stated there is no double-bass notes on the entire album, a far stretch from his fast galloping power metal numbers previously. "The Crest" envelopes a classic metal sound, a record that really doesn't have a sense of urgency. That aspect really appeals to me, the group allowing some riff-rockers that leaves plenty of time for Johnny Gioeli to belt out some soulful notes. I've always though Gioeli was an under rated singer, a vocalist that sort of fits the Tony Martin mold. He nails some higher numbers and has just enough authority in his voice to keep you in line.
I think Pell has delivered an album as close to "Eternal Idol" perfection as one can get in this day and age. Highlights are the grand spectacle of "Devil Zone" and the hard hitting Terrana beat of "Dreaming Dead". In comparing it to previous albums, it certainly has the Pell mythos, complete with the atmospheric intro, the obligatory instrumental and doomy epic ("The End Of Our Time").
The Bottom Line - Axel Rudi Pell is better than ever with "The Crest", delivering an album as worthy as "Eternal Idol" in the halls of metal glory.
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