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    Horace Cordier
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  • Axel Rudi Pell - Into The Storm

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    Released by: Steamhammer/SPV
    Released on: January 21st, 2014.
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    German guitarist Pell has been plying his trade since the mid 80's in Rhineland warriors STEELER (not to be confused with the Los Angeles based sunset strippers that featured Yngwie Malmsteen and Ron Keel from the same era). He went solo in 1989 and has been delivering some variation on trad metal ever since. "Into The Storm" is no exception.

    While it is often said that practice makes perfect, the flipside of that is that familiarity can breed contempt. Luckily here this album fits strongly in the camp of adage number 1. The sound here is a finely blended mix of Ritchie Blackmore's RAINBOW from their Ronnie James Dio era and BLACK SABBATH in their "Heaven And Hell"/"Mob Rules" 80's renaissance. Pell is an elegant and gifted guitarist in the mold of Blackmore and Michael Schenker and devoid of Malmsteen style wankery. The overall sound of this album pairs melody with appropriate muscle and natural power.

    The highlight is the epic 10 plus minute title track that deftly brings elements of RAINBOW's peerless "Gates Of Babylon" and a strong sustained guitar solo that shines to the party. The rest of the songs tend towards a stately mid-paced vibe like "Long Way To Go" though occasionally the pedal hits the metal on JUDAS PRIEST style raver "Burning Chains". Melodies are very strong and this thing has more hooks than a tackle box without descending into overly commercial territory. The overall aura is of DIO at its creative peak on the "Holy Diver" and "The Last In Line" Lps. The subtle use of keyboards is particularly effective and adds perfect shading and highlighting to the songs.

    Vocalist Johnny Gioeli (from Brooklyn!) sounds like a slightly more macho Joe Lynn Turner with strong natural tone and power. He does a particularly excellent job on this album's one wacky oddball - a cover of Neil Young's "Hey Hey My My". Hearing references to Johnny Rotten and a weird violin effect in the middle of this Kraut metal onslaught is a bit startling!

    Trad metal is sort of a lost art form these days that has seriously fallen out of favor in the USA. But it remains quite popular with our more heritage minded metal brothers and sisters in Europe and the Far East. For those that miss the classic metal era or just dig well made metal with style this one is highly recommended. It won't burn you to the ground like one of Udo Dirkschneider's recent hyper-aggressive speedballs and it isn't as lovably goofy as fellow German pirate metallers RUNNING WILD, but this deeply scratches the euro metal itch.
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