Eleventh time around for mister Pell, and after a couple of slightly mediocre albums where I feel there haven't been much punch behind it, there is definitely a newfound energy to be found here. On his own website, he says in promotion for this release: "This is definately our masterpiece so far, it has everything to become a real classic in the long ARP history! A record packed with energy and emotions!". I would not go really that far myself, but it is indeed a step forward compared to the past years.
Up to the point of The Masquerade Ball it always felt relatively fresh and interesting for every new album, but since then Axel has recycled more melodies and song lines than is really healthy. It has also felt like there is not much inspiration behind it, kind of saggy, to be honest.
While the last album Tales Of The Crown was slower than we have ever heard before, although quite heavy instead, this picks up the pace a little bit again but it is still far from a speedball. On this album there is a good mix of darkness, great melodies and some variation in pace. A standard Axel Rudi Pell album, one might say.
For the ones that loved the album Oceans Of Time, you have a few pieces to drool over here. Dreaming Dead, to some extent The End Of Our Time, and of course Dark Waves Of The Sea (Oceans Of Time Pt. II) have the same feel and sound from that era. In the latter song, he is even reusing the entire chorus from Oceans Of Time with the exact melody and everything.
Even the mandatory "cheesy" songs on this album, especially Prisoner Of Love, are good. Unfortunately, for my personal taste, they are too many and the album as a whole looses its pondus in the second half but it manages to cross the finish line with its head high.
In conclusion, this album is quite heavy and dark with good melodies and the magnificent vocalist Gioeli is outstanding once again and really carries the album perfectly. This album is more or less on par with Mystica, perhaps slightly behind, but still a bit from bullseye.