AXEL RUDI PELL – KNIGHTS CALL (Steamhammer/SPV)

Review by Omni: Axel Rudi Pell is well-known for playing guitar in the German heavy metal band Steeler, but he has also had a successful and prolific career as a solo artist. Knights Call is the eighteenth studio album of his solo career. Unlike many solo artists, he has also maintained a remarkably stable cast of collaborators for almost three decades. Featuring vocalist Jonny Gioeli, bassist Volker Crawczak, drummer Bobby Rondinelli and keyboardist Ferdy Doernberg, Knights Call is a mature effort in a long career by a fantastic guitar wizard.

The sound of this album will not alienate fans of Pell’s previous work, as it’s still rooted in 1980s-style hard rock and heavy metal. The musicianship is strong and Gioeli’s vocals are powerful and emotive as the songs demand. Every song is catchy and enjoyable, but Pell’s guitar solos are a true highlight. “The Wild and the Young” could easily have been a 1980s hard rock hit, and “The Crusaders of Doom” shows a more serious side of the band. As strong as the album is overall, “Beyond the Light” was the most powerful song out of the bunch, featuring choral vocals from Pamela Falcon. This track showcases the versatility of Axel Rudi Pell as a musician and songwriter.

The balance of strong production, heavy songs and catchy melodies on this album was very satisfying. Fans of 1980s hard rock and heavy metal will find much to love on this album and longtime fans of Axel Rudi Pell will be overjoyed that he is still going strong in 2018. If you miss the 1980s sound, you could do a lot worse than Knights Call. This album really surprised me as I’m not a follower of Axel Rudi Pell’s recent solo efforts, but it seems that I need to visit those albums as well. Additional info at: https://www.axel-rudi-pell.de/ 

My rating: 70/100 ( Decent but best previewing)

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