Released by: Steamhammer/Spv
Release Date: Marh 26th, 2012
Genre: Heavy Metal
Johnny Gioeli – Lead and Backing Vocals
Axel Rudi Pell – Lead, Rhythm and Acoustic Guitars
Ferdy Doernberg – Keyboards
Volker Krawczak – Bass
Mike Terrana – Drums
1. The Guillotine Suite (Intro) 01:52
2. Ghost In The Black 04:36
3. Run With The Wind 04:42
4. Before I Die 04:29
5. Circle Of The Oath 09:20
6. Fortunes Of War 05:19
7. Bridges To Nowhere 07:10
8. Lived Our Lives Before 06:31
9. Hold On To Your Dreams 05:47
10. World Of Confusion (The Masquerade Ball Pt. II) 09:30
Man the German master of craft work Axel Rudi Pell has been in the Rock business a long time, is hard to image that this new record from the prolific outfit is now the band’s 15th studio album. It seems like only yesterday when I was still trying to discover the old school heavy metal bands like Steeler, or Running Wild. Ever since Axel left the cult favorite metal band Steeler and began doing his own solo career, he has been on a steady pace with albums releases and tales of wizardry and dragons that would make any fantasy geek wet their pants. In my opinion his best music came out within the timeline of records “Between the Wall” and “Masquerade Ball”, of course part of this is because Jeff Scott Soto was the lead singer in those albums until Johnny Gioeli came in “Oceans of Time” and successfully succeeded the great Soto, since then he has has not looked back for an instance.
Axel himself has kept a high level of musicianship as he has carried the torch from the music he always loved and grew up listening to as a child. Needless to say he has held on to that torch with immense and convincing quest to please his fans. In his long career he has sold over 1.5 million records worldwide, and is still good to have people like these who stick to something they believe in, even throughout the turbulent music business and digital era we live in now.
The potent voice of Gioeli is one of the keys I always look forward to listening to ever since his days with the Neal Schon Hard Rock project Hardline, I have followed his career closely. I was actually shocked at times why Johnny hasn’t gone out and been involved in many other projects with the capability and range for his voice, he can enter the versatility avenue and do some solo stuff, I think fans will dig that no matter what.
On the new record the guys stay in fine shape and style, if you heard any albums from Pell you know what to expect, your typical high rising melodic metal grooves are always there, alongside Axel’s typical guitar licks and Johnny’s pristine vocal potency. On “Circle of the Oath” they keep the ball rolling once more. On songs like “Run with the Wind” you quench some metal thirst with a tasty guitar groove that ARP throws out, accompanied Johnny in an effective power rising chorus. After the epic and dragging at times title track, the guys keep the eventual flow of the record going with the quick uptempo churner of “Fortunes of War”, once again although the chorus is a bit repetiive who wouldn’t want to listen to Johnny Gioeli sing lights out?
As stated earlier Axel is like fine wine always stays in fine shape and gets better with age, his guitar hooks and still there and the sound doesn’t really change much, but then again that’s not a focus of his band as the style has remained true for a long time. I think the key factor here is the quality of the tunes, and if you’re a fan of the band then you can expect more of the same. The lyrics are a little more darker this time around which a flare of mystery to the songs, and as previously covered Gioeli is just a fantastic singer, his range cannot be understated. Stay tuned folks because the new Hardline album is schedule to come out this summer through Frontiers. For fans of Axel though is a must purchase if you have loved his career retrospect of albums which has been a long healthy run, and that’s not a bad thing.
Written by Denys
Ratings Denys 7/10