Release Date: August 28, 2006

User Review
7/10 (1 vote)

Before the release of Mystica, Axel Rudi Pell had released 10 studio albums, 2 live albums, 3 ballad compilations, and one DVD. This has made him one of Germany’s most successful Metal guitarists of the past fifteen years.

He started his career in the band “Steeler” in 1984, and went solo in 1989 (Wild Obsessions). Since the breakthrough in 1991 (Nasty Reputation), he has become one of Europe’s biggest Metal icons, and continues to tour non-stop. Though Axel Rudi Pell’s music has become very predictable (and fans know pretty much what to expect), it’s still the way people like it and he doesn’t disappoint.

After the release of Ballads I, II, and III, which revealed his softer side, Axel Rudi Pell is ready to Rock again with Mystica.

First is the mandatory, mystifying intro: “The Mysterious Return,” which mainly consists of deep keyboard notes with some keyboard choirs and a wailing guitar on top. Next is the Hard Rocker “Fly to the Moon.” This song is exactly what fans want from Axel Rudi Pell. It’s a typical classic Heavy Metal tune, with choirs on the chorus and a killer guitar solo.

The same goes for “Rock the Nation,” only this is a slower tune, and starts off like a ballad, before they speed it up a bit for the chorus. The song slows down again for the solo and Pell does his thing nicely. “Rock the Nation” is sure to be a sing-along for their live shows.

“Valley of Sin” is a slow power ballad, and Johnny Gioeli shows some real quality vocal abilities in this one. It’s a nice song that fits in well on the record.

“Living a Lie” is a rough but kind tune in the typical Axel Rudi Pell style.

There’s yet another ballad in “No Chance To Live.” This is the most beautiful track on Mystica. The guitar solo is enjoyable and makes this one of the finest ballads he has written so far.

The title track starts with a plaintive and whining guitar on top of a keyboard choir. It’s in the same style as the rest of the album, and along with “Losing the Game” (which is a harder tune in the same style as “Fly to the Moon”) and “The Curse of the Damned,” this track creates a great ending to the record.

“Haunted Castle Serenade (Opus #4 grazioso e agresso)” is a track to mention on its own, because this instrumental stands out from the rest of the record. It starts with the guitar in perfect harmony with the keyboard and drums with amazingly loud echoes on the snare drum. Even though you can hear the typical Axel Rudi Pell style on this one too, it has some Classical inspiration to it.

Axel Rudi Pell delivers the goods on this record too. The difference between him and many other solo guitarists is that there is no endless guitar masturbation on his records. Instead, his focus is mainly on making great songs. Johnny Gioeli fits great into the band, and shows the great vocal abilities that you’re used to hearing from him in Hardline.

And, of course, you can’t go wrong with Mike Terrana on the drums. Just like he does is Rage, Terrana provides a steady yet compelling beat, and continues to be one of the best drummers in Europe. Also, it is cool to hear some “80s echo” on the snare drum on some parts.

The album has a fine balance between cool Hard Rockers like “Fly to the Moon” and “Rock the Nation” and Ballads like “Valley of Sin” and “No Chance To Live.” These tunes are also the highpoints of the record.

If you expect something new and groundbreaking, this isn’t the album for you. If you like classic Heavy Metal, the way they used to make it, then you won’t regret buying Mystica.


• Johnny Gioeli – Lead and Backing Vocals
• Axel Rudi Pell – Lead, Rhythm, and Acoustic Guitars
• Ferdy Doernberg – Keyboards
• Volker Krawczak – Bass
• Mike Terrana – Drums and Percussion


  1. The Mysterious Return (Intro)
  2. Fly To The Moon
  3. Rock The Nation
  4. Valley Of Sin
  5. Living A Lie
  6. No Chance To Live
  7. Mystica
  8. Haunted Castle Serenade (Opus #4 grazioso e agresso)
  9. Losing The Game
  10. The Curse Of The Damned


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

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