|» Cd reviews||
More steady than an atomic clock, Axel Rudi Pell and crew release another full lenght album two years after the previous one. Safe to say, it sounds exactly the same as every time the past decade and a half. The same sound and production as always, ever since he established his now trademark sound around the time of the Ocean Of Time album (1998).
With a new Axel Rudi Pell album it is just a matter of how good the new songs are this time around. As no surprise, here we can find some quite enjoyable highs but also some lows. To my joy, the highs are better than anything from the previous album, but the lows are on the other hand quite dull, or rather anonymous.
I feel there are at times more punch and drive to some songs here compared to ever before. A heavy, well-produced foundation in good pace with Johnny Gioeli's outstanding voice on top sprinkled with some catchy choruses.
The first quarter of the album starts off very well, even though we have heard the structure of the opening song before (feel free to take a moment to listen to Tower Of Lies from the Into The Storm album (2014) and Too Late from the The Crest album (2010), and have fun comparing the riffs, the bpm's and the verse structures). Almost ridiculous, but nevertheless a good song. Sons In The Night takes the tempo down but instead gets heavier and is one of the best songs on the album.
The title track, which usually is a good treat, this time passes by quite unnoticed since it doesn't lift or grab a hold of me at any time and I am sad to feel my shoulders shrug for it. The album is then rolling along on autopilot with some standard epic, some half-ballad and some soft rocking songs and loses a bit momentum in the mid section, but catches up a bit towards the end again with Breaking The Rules but unfortunately ends on a sour note with the saggy Forever Free. In a couple of songs I get a strong Masquerade Ball vibe, both that actual song and that album as a whole.
At the end of the day it's however a solid record and a very safe buy for the initiated fans, as long as they don't expect any kind of innovation. Also for the ones that are not yet initiated with the man and his music, although I would recommend a few of the other recent albums (Circle Of The Oath and Mystica) before this one.
With everything above being said: I love Axel Rudi Pell. I still do after this album, but I feel kind of indifferent to Game Of Sins after having given it about a dozen spins over a few weeks. I sure will keep coming back to this album in the future, but not because of any particular song, just because I want to shuffle around in his discography a bit.
To be frank, I'm not sure how many more albums like this the man can pull off before public interest starts to fade? One or two perhaps, but then... come on.