Music Reviews

Axel Rudi Pell

Shadow Zone

Steamhammer / SPV

Every time Axel Rudi Pell comes out with a new album, people go “aw, it’s just like the last one,” and Axel just nods his head and say “yea, I know. Great, isn’t it?”

Never too hot on the concepts of change and reinvention, Axel Rudi Pell and his attention-grabbing hairdo is out with yet another album of classic melodic heavy metal, filled with crafted songwriting and Axel’s faultless guitar-playing. Vocalist Johnny Gioeli has a good voice for this kind of material. And with Mike Terrana on the drum-stool alongside Pell on guitar, you know the instruments are in the safest of hands.

Shifting between Scorpions-styled hard rock, the more dubious side of Ozzy’s ’80s output, Saxon’s direct approach and some latter-day Van Halen-leanings, this isn’t exactly cutting-edge contemporary nu-school metal core whatever. However, there are some very fine moments in between, and if a disproportionate amount of those are of an instrumental character, the songwriting doesn’t suck either.

Axel Rudi Pell has the advantage of not even trying for a hit single and is only aiming to please himself and his die-hard fans with this one. Meaning that there’s none of the embarrassing attempts at crossing over to the mainstream that so many recent melodic metal albums suffer from. Axel Rudi Pell, then, has made yet another solid release that’s not going to convince anyone who didn’t like his previous efforts, but that should go down well with those already converted. Simple as that, really.


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