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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Axel Rudi Pell

Best Of – Anniversary Edition

Review by Gary Hill

This compilation disc by Axel Rudi Pell shows how strong an artist he truly is. Generally most compilations are uneven – with some material shining way above the rest. Well, that’s not the case here. This one is strong from start to finish. I guess I’d have to say, though, that Pell’s weak point is originality. Nothing here is really unique to him. Still, his brand of killer catchy metal works well – whether it sounds like other acts or not. I previously reviewed one of these tracks on another disc. For the sake of consistency I’ve included that review here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 5 at
Track by Track Review
Edge Of The World
I dig the crunchy riffing that opens this. The vocal hooks are catchy. The tune rocks like crazy. It's a great choice to start this set. It's part pop metal and part power metal. It's accessible and meaty at the same time. It has some solid metallic crunch guitar soloing. This is another groundbreaking, but it is entertaining for sure.
Here’s another mainstream metal track that’s catchy and yet has plenty of meat on its bones, too. Yeah, it is generic, but it’s also quite strong.
Strong As A Rock
This powers in hard edged, but then drops to a power-ballad motif to carry on. The cut has a pretty standard epic ballad feeling to it and could have come out of the 1980’s. It’s another that’s strong despite not being overly original. 
Beautiful Day
There’s a cool driving bass line on this, but overall it’s more competent metal. Parts of this remind me a bit of Bon Jovi. Still, I can hear Quiet Riot at other points. All in all it continues the pattern of not exceptionally original, but very tasty metal. 
The opening on this is dramatic and rather tentative. As it pounds out into the song proper it definitely makes me think of Dio. It has a stripped down verse (but I’m not sure I’d call it ballad-like). This is very classic sounding metal and even the reference to a rainbow in the lyrics (and the title) is in keeping with Dio. The cut drops way down for a smoking guitar solo.
Forever Angel (Acoustic)
As the title suggests, this is a pretty acoustic guitar driven ballad. There are other musical elements here and there, but overall that motif makes up the bulk of this.
The Masquerade Ball
This is an epic length cut and it’s full of variants and adaptations. This is a strong cut that really seems to take the typical metal influences heard throughout the set and expand them into near progressive rock. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the set, and I have to say that on a different album I might consider this to be prog rock – mind you, metallic prog.
Rock The Nation
Alternating between a more melodic motif and the harder edged, more pure metal, this again makes me think of Bon Jovi at times. It’s another solid cut that’s not overly original. Still, it’s not at the same level of some of the other music here. 
Oceans Of Time
This is basically an epic metal power ballad that has some elements of old school metal. The references to Dio are quite strong on this, but that’s not the only leaning I hear on it. I can also make out some Scorpions here.
Tear Down The Walls
Here’s more standard European metal. There’s not molds broken here and no big strides in new direction made. It’s still a great tune.
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.
In The Air Tonight
Yes, this is a cover of the Phil Collins song. Pell and company add a bit of a metal twist to it, and I like this rendition a lot. It’s not quite as strong as the original, but it’s different and a close second.
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Metal/Prog Metal
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