We review the new album by AXEL RUDI PELL that once again has an imposing Johnny Gioeli on vocals and that will be released on May 8 under the title “Sign Of The Times”
With more than 1.7 million albums sold worldwide, 2.6 million streams in his previous work “Knights Call” (2018). Now AXEL RUDI PELL is about to release “Sign Of The Times”, his 18th studio album in 31 years. Once again Pell is accompanied by one of those soul-catching voices, that of Johnny Gioeli (HARDLINE) who indulges in a harsher record than he’s used to, and heck … sounds good. An example? Here is it:
“When we played in Moscow last summer, many fans came up to me and called me” legend. “My response was: I’m just a guitarist”
Another important fact on this album is the change in production direction because, for the first time in nine albums, he worked with someone other than his co-producer and engineer Charlie Bauerfeind , opting for the engineer of his live albums Tommy Geiger .
“Sign Of The Times” is a great album and as AXEL RUDI PELL himself has recognized, it is partly due to the role of singer Johnny Gioeli and drummer Bobby Rondinelli:
“First of all, Johnny has outdone himself during the recordings, this time he gave more than 100% of the usual. Because he’s been playing a lot lately , he’s been singing a lot live. Second, we’ve never had a better drum sound with Bobby in the band, thanks to his new Snare -Beauty Black Beauty- “.
AXEL RUDI PELL “Sign Of The Times” song by song
“Sing of The Times” has everything, starting from an evident axis that is Hard Rock guitar player and even seventies and also going through different cardinal points of rock in these 10 songs.
“The Black Serenade” serves as a classic intro with the guitar as the main character supported by timid backing vocals.
Although the actual opening of the album comes with “Gunfire” that you may have heard at the beginning of this review and that it is a real whip with reminiscences of Purple or Rainbow, fast-paced rhythm, a pleasing Gioelli and abundant guitar (but without reaching be heavy).
“Bad Reputation” is a melodic hardrocker with a simple structure and riffs reminiscent of Dickinson’s “Tatooed Millonaire”, but that fails to fully emerge in the chorus to become a hit.
We come to the song that gives title to the album “Sing of the Times” that starts with a chorus similar to that of the intro, and a heavy riff that gives way to the melody that becomes the protagonist of the song at half time intense and successful.
“The End Of The Line” takes up faster rhythms and drags you through a melody that at first seems to say nothing but ultimately engages.
“As Blind As A Fool Can Be” a book power ballad with its soft guitar on start, keyboards and distortion to boost the power in the chorus and the melody carried by one of the best for this type of songs.
“Wings Of The Storm” again that air to the Deep Purple of Coverdale / Hughes in a cut that transports you to the 70s but with a twist on the guitars that never lose the Pell personality.
Gioeli is immense in “Waiting For Your Call” that starts with an 80s air riff and takes the vocalist to the limit, leaving us everything in the choruses. For my taste, the solo is one of the coolest on the album, partly due to the support provided by the already mentioned riff and the rhythmic base.
Now I can swear that I thought I had skipped the advertising … “Living In A Dream” This is Reggae !, but rest assured that nothing has happened. That is just an intro to the theme that then engages with the usual AXEL style. Of course, the scare is not taken away by anyone, and it seems that neither to his other bandmates, Volker Krawzcak (b) and Ferdy Doernberg (k) who freaked out when they heard the song.
“Into The Fire” ends the album with a longer theme, and quite heavy (in the good sense of the word) with an exhibition of controlled and melodic solos, something far from the typical “guiniguiniguini” theme than in other works usually cast Pell.
In summary we have a very interesting album in which great musicians deliver their good work to a set of songs that are also quite good and where AXEL RUDI PELL has distanced himself from his epic and almost mystical themes to speak to us with his music of much more things nearby.