One of the most conservative men in the guitar rock business is back with another album, just like a clockwork; every other year, more or less. But he has actually taken out the turn musically this time. This album is a bit more heavier and slower paced than before and he is, believe it or not, not opening with a fast, double bass drum song. There is in fact only one really fast song on the album (not counting Angel Eyes, which belongs to the gray zone) and it arrives as Buried Alive, the second to last song. The tempo is overall very moderate and it tends to be quite boring during periods and since the musical direction of course is as we are used to, there are not many wow-moments.
It opens with Higher, which is a heavy and semi-epic song and is a decent opener with quality, but not overly exciting. Ain't Gonna Win is a midtempo one with a good verse and chorus and already here we have heard one of the best songs on the album. The earlier mentioned Angel Eyes takes it up yet a notch and is a relatively fast rocker which sounds like it could have been released around the time of the Eternal Prisoner or Between The Walls albums. Catchy like hell and one of these songs which reminds me of why I normally love Axel Rudi Pell.
Alas, at this point we encounter a big dip in quality and energy. Crossfire is one of those standard and pretty meaningless songs. You might enjoy it for the moment on a good day, although absolutely nothing special. Touching My Soul and Emotional Echoes are respectively a ballad, of which he has done better, and a groovy and slightly funk oriented intrumental song. Nothing to write home to mom about, I am sad to say.
Riding On An Arrow is an as classic Axel Rudi Pell song as it gets. Midtempo with a refrain that works pretty well but I think the verses are a bit too anonymous this time. The title track, Tales Of The Crown, is "the" epic song on the album that always has to be present, but it is not the monster epic one would have hoped for. It is more like a mix between a nomal rock song of his and an epic one. The grand feeling never sets in.
With the arrival of Buried Alive we get the fastest one on the album. Classic structure, good bridge and solo although the refrain could have had way more punch. Unfortunately everything is rounded off with the saucy ballad Northern Lights of which, again, he previously has written way better. It is saved solely by Gioeli's marvellous vocals.
I will not say that an Axel Rudi Pell album needs an abundance
of tempo to be really good, but at least a bigger of amount of catchyness
than is present this time. Apart from a few, most songs never lift to
the level where they are able to get a grip on you. This is unfortunately
a quite below average album in the Axel Rudi Pell discography.