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Axel Rudi Pell - 'The Ballads V'

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 12, 2018    
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A deliciously persuasive tome that will appeal to fans both old and new.

When it comes to emulating Rainbow at their very best, few can hold a candle to Aryan axe hero Axel Rudi Pell. Since leaving Steeler at the end of the eighties, he seems to have made it his personal mission to keep the Ghost Of Ritchie Blackmore Past alive. Some would argue he's a one trick pony on an unachievable quest to make 'Rising II' (never gonna happen), but for the illuminati on the inside, he's crafted a treasure trove of material which is as frighteningly consistent as it is grandiloquently long.

Following on from last year's return to form 'Game Of Sins' opus – in my humble opinion his best since 'Mystica' or even 'Shadow Zone' – Steamhammer/SPV have just unveiled the fifth instalment in his ongoing 'The Ballads...' saga. As an up-an-in-your-face kind of Rock 'n' Roller, the very idea of a ballads compilation usually has me reaching for a bottle of Jack Daniels and some old Molly Hatchet albums quicker than certain politicians can fuck up an interview, but as longstanding fans will attest, there's something about Pell's forays into low slung 'n' moody territory that are altogether far more ethereal.

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I know what you're thinking... "I've got all the studio albums anyway, what's in it for me?" The answer, for starters, is there are no less than four brand new recordings included here. The first of which is 'Love's Holding On', a scintillating duet with gravel-voiced diva Bonnie Tyler joining longstanding front-man Johnny Gioeli in an explosion of angst and emotion. There's also an Pell'd up version of Ed Sheeran's 'I See Fire' (from 'The Hobbit') and a previously unreleased live rendition of 'The Line' from last year's Rock Of Ages Festival. However, the real piece-de-resistance is the near eight minute epic 'On The Edge Of Our Time' which has a very similar feel to 'Catch The Rainbow'.

When you put those alongside smouldering gems like 'Forever Free' from the aforementioned '...Sins', 'When Truth Hurts' and the stonking fourteen minute live rendition of 'Mistreated' from the 25th anniversary set a couple of years back, you end up with a deliciously persuasive tome that will appeal to fans both old and new.

Axel Rudi Pell's guitar may not get to unleash as much as it does on the regular studio albums (although he does have his moments), nevertheless 'The Ballads V' still stands colossus-like in magnificent defiance!

Dave Cockett

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