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Friday, February 23, 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Axel Rudi Pell delivers once again on Knights Call

SAY what you like about Axel Rudi Pell - he is one consistent man. And, with Knights Call album number 17 does what you would expect.

As a technician he masters his instrument, but his ability to capture exquisite playing within songs - yes actual songs - that sets him apart from many so-called shredders.

On Knights Call he picks up from 2016's wonderful 'Game of Sin' with a collection of tracks that have the right shading, the right variety and the right balance to have fans salivating.

From the rousing 'The Wild and The Young', the balls out 'Long Live Rock' and the balladic 'Beyond The Light' this album contains everything you'd expect from Pell.

But, as always the 57-year-old pushes himself a little bit further all the time. 'Tower of Babylon' Pell tips a hat to Rainbow, but interpreted in his own unique way.

Yes, we get all the usual mysticism and folklore added to the stadium rockers, but in the hands of Pell's lyrical playing and Johnny Gioeli's passionate singing it all makes sense.

And, as for Bobby Rondelli's drums - you know he lays it down pure and simple.

What is striking about Knights Call is that it feels a complete album, which in the past hasn't always been the case. At times there were albums released by him that sounded as if maybe one song could have been culled, or the placement of each track tweaked a little.

Instead this is a collection that holds together, never jarring and with touches like Pamela Falcon's work on 'Beyond The Light' that add that extra flourish.

Stand-out tracks abound, however the impassioned 'Slaves On The Run', a cry to free yourself from whatever shackles that tie you down.

There are no shackles on Pell. Knights Call may be the culmination of all his work...leading to the question, how can he top this?

Review by Jonathan Traynor

Knights Call is out on Steamhammer/SPV on March 23rd

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