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Axel Rudi Pell is at it again. This, the 17th studio album of his career, is as recognizable as any of the albums from him the past decade. He has said in recent interviews that people who claim that "if you have heard one Axel Rudi Pell album, you have heard them all" can kiss his ass. According to him it is simply not true. I really have to urge mister Pell to instead kiss my little tush, because there is no way he can defend that stand. There are of course nuances and the occasional new grip and twist, but the similarity of the songs structures are undeniably equivalent to those of AC/DC and Motörhead.
With that said, I like Axel Rudi Pell. I always have and I still do. An album from him is always enjoyable at the very least, sometimes really good and sometimes plain average, close to boring during certain segments. I honestly find it almost impossible to write something about this album that I didn't write in the review for its predecessor, Game Of Sins (2016). I would like to copy that one, word for word. What I have scrabbled down in my notebook, however, are the words "spacious", "weaker", "vital vocals" and "a 70's feeling".
This album has a somewhat fresh and spacy, but also lighter, sound with some fragments with that 70's feeling to them, which is something he incorporated in his music more before but nowadays only comes and goes, and Johnny Gioeli sings almost as good as ever. He is a monster vocalist and fits this band perfectly. Still the album is, much due to the production, weaker and distinctly more powerless compared to his string of albums the past decade.
We get a fair and unsurprising balance of the fast opener, a couple of catchy rock anthems (Wildest Dreams, Long Live Rock), the epic and grand cuts (The Crusaders Of Doom, Tower Of Babylon) of which the latter unfortunately fail, the uptempo and catchy instrumental (Truth And Lies) and in between the standard cuts that are good (Slaves On The Run) and those that have merit but pass by more or less unnoticed.
I feel most songs lack the edge and punch, and even character, that would in any way make them stand out among the pearls in the discography, which are indeed quite a few by now. While the previous album Game Of Sins had a few great highs and a few real lows, this album really has neither.
In the press release Pell states that he is very happy having a long-term successful and steady career rather than those immediate hit albums, and that is honorable and great, but then it's inevitable that there will be periods which listeners experience as a bit less inspired and on autopilot. This is quality-wise a bit from modern time albums like Into The Storm, The Crest and Circle Of The Oath.