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SERPENTINE PATH
‘Disfigured Colossus’
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'Eventide'
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'Erased By The Dark'
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'The Heart (Save Me)'
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HARDWARES

AXEL RUDI PELL

Into The Storm

(Steamhammer/SPV)

Reviewed by : Kelley Simms
Rating : 8.0

It’s hard to believe that the AXEL RUDI PELL band is a quarter of a century old. To celebrate, the Germans (and two Americans) have released their 16th studio album, Into The Storm. Guitar maestro and band namesake, Pell, has consistently crafted (and perfected) the merging of heavy/power metal and melodic rock with a neoclassic flair throughout his 25-year career. Although Pell is not as well-known in North America, he has a steady following in his homeland and other pockets of Europe. On Into The Storm, Pell & Co. don’t stray too far from their comfort zone of their sound, it is more cohesive while they add a few new nuances than on their last few previous releases. Pell’s biggest influence is Ritchie Blackmore, while bands such as DIO, RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE and YNGWIE MALMSTEEN are also obvious inspirations. Although Pell’s music maintains a commercial edge, it’s heavy enough to please the hard rock/metal fans, but melodic enough to please the AOR fans of bands such as JOURNEY, DEF LEPPARD and later-era AEROSMITH.

American vocalist Johnny Gioeli (HARDLINE), who has a 15-year reign with the band, is in top form. Joining ARP for this disc is journeyman drummer Bobby Rondinelli (Rainbow, Sabbath, BLUE OYSTER CULT) after drummer Mike Terrana exited the drum throne after his own15-year tenure with the band. Super-charged, melodic rockers such as “Long Way To Go,” “High Above,” “Tower Of Lies” and “Burning Chains” set the ARP wheels in motion. On the flip side, Axel loves a great heartfelt ballad and one of the band’s most beautiful ballads to date is “When Truth Hurts.” The band also pulls off a unique cover version of NEIL YOUNG’s ‘Hey Hey, My My,’ performed in the ARP style. The ten-plus minute title track, decorated with an Arabian/Middle Eastern flavor, ends the disc on a high note. Into The Storm has everything a melodic rock fan would want, and then some.




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