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AXEL RUDI PELL Game Of Sins

By Rob McNees, Vinyl Aficionado
Monday, January 25, 2016 @ 2:42 PM


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AXEL RUDI PELL
Game Of Sins

Steamhammer/SPV




It's safe to assume that everyone knows by now my love & admiration for the NWOBHM, but I'm a huge fan of other genres as well. German Metal, for example. Tons of killer, underrated and overlooked bands with rare releases. More album outputs than singles though. One such band was called STEELER, not to be confused with the all-star US band with the same moniker. The Teutonic STEELER's debut album came out in 1984, and had power & melody, a brilliant debut. They released 4 albums before calling it a day in 1989. STEELER's guitarist and main songwriter, Axel Rudi Pell, went out on his own and released his first solo record the same year, Wild Obsession, which even included a STEELER cover of one of my fave songs, "Call Her Princess". Axel has gone on to a celebrated solo career, releasing 17 albums and having a huge '25 years in the business' show in Balingen Germany in 2014.

His latest release is Game Of Sins. And if you're familiar with ARP's catalog, then you know it's full of class, bombast and epic, melody driven tunes. Starting off with an intro with circus music and roulette wheel, "Lenta Fortuna" (Latin for bad luck) leads into the driving riff of "Fire". Axel was a huge Ronnie James Dio fan and it shows in his songwriting skills. Memorable, melodic but still having that touch of heaviness for people like yours truly. "Fire" is a great uptempo opener!

"Sons In The Night" is a mid-tempo song inspired by the Sons Of Anarchy and should be a great bike cruising song. I'll test it on my Harley soon!! I would be remiss if I didn't at this point talk about vocalist Johnny Gioeli. An outstanding singer with great melody & range, he reminds me a bit of a young Jon Bon Jovi. Don't let that dampen your enthusiasm because there's no hair rock here, just classic Metal.

The title track is next, with that epic, inspired DIO-ness I referred to earlier. At almost 9 minutes, it's heavy and slower. The chorus reminds me of something RAINBOW would have done with Joe Lynn Turner behind the mic as well. Keyboardist Ferdy Doernberg shows up more in the forefront here during the chorus as the song has a middle eastern flair. Like I said, epic.

"Falling Star" goes back to an uptempo riff and nice melodic solo by ARP. Solid drumming in this band by none other than Bobby Rondinelli, whose played with WARLOCK, BLUE OYSTER CULT, BLACK SABBATH, DORO and many more. A great pedigree indeed, and it shows.

"Lost In Love" is an 80's ballad, just as you remember them, lighter not included. Johnny really shines on this.

"The King Of Fools" is another track that definitely could have come out in the 80's. Mid-tempo, with keys and bass player Volker Krawczak (ex-STEELER) holding down the groove.

"Till The World Says Goodbye" goes back to a slower pace with that epicness that has become an ARP staple. A tasty solo just adds to the flavor of this track.

"Breaking The Rules" again employs a mid-tempo beat with Johnny singing his heart out. A memorable chorus helps the track to stand out a bit.

"Forever Free" ends the album proper, and clocking in almost 9 minutes, it's a slower, almost ballad type track. For me, I think a couple more uptempo numbers would have balanced out the album a bit better. Now, for you CD loving fans, a special digipak bonus track is available. And they saved the best for last. A hard rockin' version of the legendary DYLAN/HENDRIX track "All Along The Watchtower". If you can imagine an grandiose, epic version before kicking into gear to a more traditional version then you'll be on track. Axel really shreds on this track, as well he should. I love covers, especially when you make the track more your own, instead of by-the-numbers. Evidently ARP had been wanting to do this for quite some time. Well done indeed.

So there you have it. I believe fans of 80's Metal, epic songs and well crafted, well executed songs, hard rocking but not too heavy, will really enjoy this album. If this sounds like you, check this or any of Axel's back catalog. I don't think you'll be too disappointed.

And for my Vinyl loving brothers & sisters, there is a 2 LP black vinyl set with a cd to boot! Rejoice!

3.0 Out Of 5.0

Grab your copy of Game Of Sins in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.


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