||ALEX RUDI PELL
'Game Of Sins
Release Date: 15th January 2016
Former Steeler guitarist Pell has had a successful solo career, and recently celebrated 25 years with a special 3 hour show, released on the 'Magic Moments' 3DVD.
This new album, his seventeenth solo studio effort, continues in his virtuoso hard rock vein and is issued on SPV, a label he has been with throughout his solo career.
Not to be confused with the American band of the same name, Steeler formed in Bochum, Germany in 1981. Judas Priest were an obvious influence and the band took their name from the 'British Steel' LP.
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With guitarist Axel Rudi Pell present throughout, between 1984 and 1988 Steeler released four albums; 'Steeler', 'Rulin' The Earth', 'Strike Back' and 'Undercover Animal'.
After the band split, Pell went solo and his 1989 debut, 'Wild Obsession', featured Steeler bassist Volker Krawczak alongside vocalist Charlie Huhn (Ted Nugent, Foghat), drummer Jorg Michael (Stratovarius, Saxon, Running Wild), and Bonfire's Joerg Deisinger.
1991's 'Nasty Reputation' featured vocalist Rob Rock, while Jeff Scott Solo fronted 'Eternal Power'.
Across the 16 previous albums, all of which have achieved solid sales, Pell has polished his brand of Metal, with drummer Mike Terrana passing through the ranks too.
A hardworking performer, Pell has toured constantly and released a number of live sets interspacing the studio sets. His current band consists of longtime vocalist Johnny Gioeli, keyboard player Ferdy Doemberg, ever present bassist Volker Krawczak, and since 2013 drummer Bobby Rondinelli.
'Lenta Fortuna' (intro) opens with keyboards and effects, including a fairground organ, before crunchy guitars come in for 'Fire'. This is a solid Power Metal track with, under the guitars, rich keyboards that bolster the atmosphere. The vocal range is good and solid, and the guitar solo blistering.
'Sons In The Night' has a slightly slower rhythm and chunkier rhythm, and has a slight 80s feel - think the heavier end of King Kobra.
The title track is a heavy moody number, the keyboards augmenting the Sabbath edge, while the guitars on Falling Star's intro nod towards Saxon. The bass and drums are tight and solid, it's a good team. Krawczak has been with Pell for so long now and it shows, and Rondinelli fits right in.
'Lost In Love' has a slow atmospheric intro that builds into a big powerful Metal ballad. The guitars are good, but here the keyboards are up in the mix equal to them.
While the band are named after the guitarist, they are indeed a band, a five way unit, a very tight and solid team, so while the shred and technical work is ever present, it is reigned in.
The keyboards, excellent in the mix, build and support well, and rarely show the virtuosity of the guitarist. Under the Axel Rudi Pell brand Power Metal are influences ranging from Classic Metal (80s and 00s) to Hair Metal and more besides.
And on some formats, there's a rather excellent bonus track of 'All Along The Watchtower', done very much in their own style, but worth checking out all the same.
Keep rocking, Pell does.