Release date: October 25, 2004

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

This is the third collection of ballads from German guitar wizard Axel Rudi Pell, and those familiar with the first two releases will know what to expect, and the rest of you are advised to approach with extreme caution. Fans of Melodic Hard Rock bands Hardline will probably have an interest in this release too since Hardline singer Johnny Gioeli provides the quality vocals on this otherwise dubious release.

It sure does take some getting used to when listening to an album full of ballads and ballads only with extended guitar solos. This is a collection of ballads from Axel Rudi Pell’s solo albums, and since this is already a third release of its kind, it must mean that Pell has a passion for ballads. To learn if you might share this passion of his, just grab a copy of any of the ballads collections. There must be an audience for this somewhere. Either that or Mr. Pell is one persistent man. In any case, listening to 10 ballads in a row is stretching the limits of any listener. If you want to fully experience these songs, start in small doses and take advantage of the shuffle button to avoid the inevitable over indulgence in guitar solos and mushy, atmospheric melodies.

As a catch for potential buyers, this release offers 3 new songs, of which one is an acoustic version of older song “Forever Angel” (electric version also included) and one is a cover of an old Rainbow tune, “Temple of the King”. The only new track on offer here is also the most energetic and an instant attention grabber among these otherwise slow tempo monster ballads. Unfortunately, while being the most energetic track offered, “Don’t Say Goodbye” is also one, along with “Under the Gun,” suffering from lack of attention to lyrics. Both of these songs sound like the lyrics have been stretched (at best) to fill these lengthy songs, and, in the end, come out too thin. “The Line” and “All The Rest of My Life” sound like they ran out of lyrics too. When listened to in the original sequence, “Under The Gun” sounds like a filler, but while played in the shuffle mode, it becomes clear that it’s only the end of the song that suffers a bit, and thus gives out the impression of a weaker track.

Individually, all of these tracks work just fine and would elevate the quality of any Hard Rock release, but as a collection, they are too much alike, yet do not share a common thread that would piece them all together.

“Don’t Say Goodbye” stands out with its fresh sound. “The Temple of the King” shines with its different verse set up when put alongside Pell’s own material. “Heartbreaker” is surprisingly catchy with its Whitesnake overtones. “All The Rest of My life” suffers from a strange hurried tempo. On all of these songs, the spotlight is shared between Pell’s solos and Gioeli’s clear and strong vocal delivery. Despite these shining moments, and there are plenty here, this whole release suffers from lack of direction, a common thread that would carry this album through, and from the feeling of separateness that comes through due to these tracks being recorded separately. The latter reason, especially, further adds to the strange and demanding vibe of this whole recording. This ballad collection could have used some synergy.

If you’re a fan of Mr. Pell or singer Johnny Gioeli, then this is for you. If Dire Straits mixed with Rainbow sounds like your thing, then this may be for you too. This is filled with strong and passionate vocals and stunning guitar solos, but for the average punter, there are just too darn many of them here. The famous line from the Oscar winning movie Amadeus applies here — Too many notes!


  • Metal-Katie

    Katie was a reviewer and interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. She claims to have been born a Metalhead. At least she's been one as far as she can remember. She loves Metal music and she's ever so happy to see generation after another founding its charm. She's always interested in hearing new Metal bands and reading about them and their antics. She lives and breathes Metal, or at least her alter ego does.

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