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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Axel Rudi Pell

Tales Of The Crown

Review by Gary Hill

This guy has been making albums for a while, but it’s the first time I’ve really checked him out. Now I know why he’s got the following he does. This isn’t the most original material I’ve ever heard, but Pell and his group make their brand of melodic old school metal work so well it doesn’t matter if you’ve heard a lot of music like this before. These guys are just plain masters at the art form and this is an incredible CD. There are no weak tracks here at all.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Higher
A dramatic Euro-metal sound starts this with symphonic and theatrical textures. They power out from there, though, into some killer melodic metal. This feels to me like a more metal Rainbow.
Ain't Gonna Win
The riff that leads this off has a classic metal texture to it, feeling like something vintage from Judas Priest. They turn it out into something more akin to Bon Jovi – on the vocals, anyway. The music is definitely more pure metal than Bon Jovi.
Angel Eyes
Both the title and the album position had me expecting a ballad. That’s not what I got at all. This screamer feels a bit like The Scorpions – but the real steel from that band, not the poppier stuff. I also hear some WASP on this. There’s a killer melodic metal jam later in this piece.
Crossfire
This has more of a melodic metal vibe to it. It has a lot in common with the stuff that was coming out in the 1980’s – but not the lame end of that sound. It’s more accessible than some of the other stuff here (Bon Jovi again comes to mind) but seriously crunchy.

Touching My Soul
Here’s the ballad I expected a couple tracks back. This is no super mellow piece of fluff, though. It’s still crunchy and powerful. It’s a very blues jam that has as much in common with Gary Moore as it does with metal bands.

Emotional Echoes
This killer instrumental is a powerhouse. It’s melodic, but also bouncy. I hear this sharing a lot of musical ground with Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. It’s a tasty piece of variety.

Riding On An Arrow
Here I can make out a lot of Dio on this track. It has a lot of the same sounds as the rest of the disc, but there are moments that really make me think of Dio. After they end this song a child’s voice is heard singing the chorus. Then a voice says, “that was perfect.”

Tales Of The Crown
They lead the title track off with elements that make you think you are about to hear a European epic metal jam, but then fire out into more pure steel. This gets dropped mid track to something that feels like that Euro-epic metal combined with Dio. At over eight minutes in length this is both the longest cut on show here and the epic of the disc.
Buried Alive
The powerhouse metal assault continues here. This is a frantic jam with some serious links to Dio and other classic metallic music. It’s another that stands tall, but really this whole disc rocks out incredibly well.

Northern Lights
They close things out with a rather epic sounding number. A lot of this is based in a power ballad motif. It’s a killer rocker that works very well to end it all on a high note and get you ready to hit “play” to start it all over again.
 
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