AXEL RUDI PELL – The Ballads IV (2011)


As you might have gathered from the name, this is the fourth collection of Axel Rudi Pell’s ballads, compiling the softer side of Pell’s last releases since 2004, plus 3 new tracks.

Pell has been heavily criticized for these series, not only accused for the supposedly cash-in, but for covering some iconic songs into the ballad format.
The truth is that fans of the beleaguered but ultimately memorable entity known as ‘Power Ballad’ will rejoice over this collection.
Not only because all songs are perfectly recorded and mostly well arranged, but for the fact that Axel has one of the best singers around: Johnny Gioeli. Former Hardline vocalist is a pleasure to the ears.

The one original and new song on here, “Where The Wild Waters Flow”, is a great example of ARP’s talent. It’s the definition of ‘Power Ballad’, with a killer hookline / melody. Somehow reminds me Slaughter.
The one that might get many bemused is the ballad treatment of the late Ronnie James Dio’s “Holy Diver”. Pell decided to re-arrange the song completely, making a piano version out of it, featuring strings, a cello and a clean and melodic guitar solo. Surprisingly, it works well.
What doesn’t work so good is his version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, which original 1984 version was featured heavily in Shrek (the movie). Not bad, just I am not completely convinced by the children choir included, but the song is saved by Johnny’s emotional and soulful voice.
One song that does come over rather well is their version of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight”. The band does enough with it to make it an interesting cover.
Other tracks previously appeared are really good power ballads, such as “Northern Lights” (where Gioeli shines), the late ’80s “Glory Night”, “Touching My Soul” and the dark “The Curse Of The Damned”.

With “The Ballads IV” two things are clear; Axel Rudi Pell writes some terrific power ballads, and Johnny Gioeli still is a monster vocalist.
The combination of passionate guitar playing from Pell as well as the soulful vocals of Gioeli prove that these are some of the most memorable power ballads since the ’80s heyday.
Almost any of the tracks on “The Ballads IV” would fit in perfectly on one of those ‘Monster Ballads’ collections that includes classic tunes.
So, if the Power Ballad is your thing, get this album soon as possible.

01 – Where The Wild Waters Flow [New track 2011]
02 – Holy Diver (DIO cover) [New track 2011]
03 – Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover) [New track 2011]
04 – Northern Lights
05 – Noblesse Oblige -Opus 5 AdagioContabile-
06 – Love Gun (Kiss cover)
07 – Glory Night
08 – In The Air Tonight (Phil Collins cover)
09 – Touching My Soul
10 – Like A Child Again
11 – No Change To Live
12 – Haunted Castle Serenade -Opus 4 Grazioso E Agresso-
13 – The Curse Of The Damned

Johnny Gioeli – lead and backing vocals
Axel Rudi Pell – lead, rhythm and acoustic Guitars
Ferdy Doernberg – keyboards
Volker Krawczak – bass
Mike Terrana – drums


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1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    Johnny Gioeli ROCKS

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