AXEL RUDI PELL – Diamonds Unlocked II

AXEL RUDI PELL - Diamonds Unlocked II
  • 6/10
    AXEL RUDI PELL - Diamonds Unlocked II - 6/10


Release date: July 30, 2021

[spoiler title=’Metal Express Radio – Ratings Scale’ style=’default’ collapse_link=’true’]

10.0:         Cannot be improved! Perfect, instant classic! Essential in any record collection.
9.5 – 9.9:  Fantastic, spectacular and outstanding!
9.0 – 9.4:  Amazing release! It just lacks that little extra spice to make it perfect.
8.5 – 8.9:  Exceptional release! Will likely rank among top ten albums of the year.
8.0 – 8.4:  Great release! It has many different qualities.
7.5 – 7.9:  Above average! It is an enjoyable release.
7.0 – 7.4:  It is not brilliant, but has many strong points.
6.0 – 6.9:  It has its moments, but is not that strong.
5.0 – 5.9:  Slightly above average, does not stand out. Good outweighs bad by just a little.
4.0 – 4.9:  Just below average, bad outweighs good by just a little.
3.0 – 3.9:  Mediocre. There might be a song or a performance that is enjoyable, but that is it.
2.0 – 2.9:  Very weak! There might be a light at the end of the tunnel, too many flaws.
1.0 – 1.9:  This release gives the word “terrible” new meaning.
0.1 – 0.9:  Awful! Avoid at all cost. There is nothing good to say about this release.


User Review
8/10 (2 votes)

The Backstory

It’s only been a year since the release of Axel Rudi Pell’s last studio album Sign of the Times [review]. While Pell considered putting out new material this year, he decided to hold off due to the pandemic lockdowns, uncertainty of touring, and restrictions imposed in different parts of the world. To keep his loyal fans happy, ARP decided to create a second chapter in his Diamonds Unlocked covers collection. The first was released in 2007.

[Watch out Axel Rudi Pell interview HERE]

The Album

ARP plays “There’s Only One Way to Rock” true to the Sammy Hagar original, but with Axel’s own version of the solo section. The band goes deep into the Rainbow catalog for “Lady of the Lake.” Their cover has a sweet groove to it, but when you remove Ronnie James Dio’s voice from any song, it’s tough to hit the mark. If you’ve never heard of the song “She’s a Lady,” go ask your grandmother about it. Chances are she was a fan of the composer and performer of the most recognized version. ARP makes this song their own by starting off slow and ballad-like, then kicking it into a Hard Rock charger.

Axel Rudi Pell’s version of “Black Cat Woman” will have you seeking out the original. It’s possible you haven’t heard it before, and most probably don’t know what major Metal Act is associated with the originators Geordie. The solo work of Rainbow’s Tony Carey is very underrated, and Axel Rudi Pell does a great version of “Room With A View” to honor it. “Sara (You Take My Breath Away)” could pass for an ARP original with Axel’s signature power riffage.

Vocalist Johnny Gioeli really shines on the gassed-up version of “Paint It Black.” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ (most notably Creedence Clearwater Revival) “I Put a Spell on You” is certainly a different take for Axel Rudi Pell. While it still maintains its bluesy, slow toe-tapping flow, it does seem out of place from the rest of the covers and even for ARP. Shockingly, ABBA’s “Eagle” doesn’t seem out of place at all.

The Verdict

Nearly every Hard Rock & Metal band was doing the lockdown covers album, so why not Axel Rudi Pell? With touring opportunities up in the air, or at this point chaotic, it’s nice to have something new from your favorite artists before the next big studio release. That being said, Diamonds Unlocked II plays to the die-hard Axel Rudi Pell fan. The kind of fan that has to have it all. A song or two may peak an interest into the band from those unaware, but that’s a big maybe. Casual fans will most likely wait it out until the next studio release or best of.

The song selection is a bit of a two sided coin. On one side, there are some “unique” choices. On the other side, would you really want a collection of songs that have been covered to death? Bottom line, Johnny Gioeli sounds great and gives it his all and Axel Rudi Pell is still the master of his guitar. It’s probably not an album you’ll go back to over and over, but it’s worth checking out.


  1. Der Schwarze Abt (Intro)
  2. There’s Only One Way To Rock (Sammy Hagar)
  3. Lady Of The Lake (Rainbow)
  4. She’s A Lady (Paul Anka)
  5. Black Cat Woman (Geordie)
  6. Room With A View (Tony Carey)
  7. Sarah (You Take My Breath Away) (Chris Norman)
  8. Rock N’ Roll Queen (The Subways)
  9. Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones)
  10. I Put A Spell On You (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins)
  11. Eagle – (ABBA)

Axel Rudi Pell is

Johnny Gioeli – Vocals
Axel Rudi Pell – Guitars
Ferdy Doernberg – Keyboards
Volker Krawczak – Bass
Bobby Rondinelli – Drums


  • George Dionne

    George was a contributor here at Metal Express Radio, reviewing albums and conducting interviews, out of Massachusetts, USA. George has contributed to numerous music related websites and blogs, and even managed his own from 2004-2009. George's first assignment was covering a live show by the mighty GWAR. By contrast his later assignments featured Judas Priest, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi. George was also the front man for the South Eastern Massachusetts cover band Sound Tower from 2009-2015.  Sound Tower played 300+ shows across MA and had two original songs on the Cape Cod radio station PIXY 103. George enjoys a good whiskey, scotch, and/or bourbon and fights crime in his spare time.

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