The Ballads III

Axel Rudi Pell

I've always had a special interest about Axel Rudi Pell's work, since this specific guitarist […]
By Grigoris Chronis
October 10, 2004
Axel Rudi Pell - The Ballads III album cover

I've always had a special interest about Axel Rudi Pell's work, since this specific guitarist is undoubtly highly skilled and much experienced, with a career spanning from the early 80s to our days, but never seems to care about publicity and how to promote his billion-notes-per-second guitar technique. High spirited by Ritchie Blackmore's ghost in addition with various influences from the UK late 70s/early 80s premier Hard Rock acts (Thin Lizzy, Uriah Heep, Rainbow, U.F.O.), Axel keeps walking in the same familiar path of melodic hard/heavy, obviously satisfying his specific aim and - apparently his fans' expectations. There are some artists I don't want to hear something different from; Axel is featured in the list...
Axel Rudi Pell has become a permanent part of the German Metal scene since he released his first - same titled - album with Steeler in 1984. Three more albums followed - Rulin' The Earth (1985), Strike Back (1986) and Undercover Animal (1988) - until he decided to leave and start a solo career in 1989, when his debut Wild Obsession came out. Even though Steeler had been a popular band in the mid-80s, his solo project became even more successful. Besides the great melodic and fast guitar playing by Axel there has always been a lot of space for other members of the band to show their talents, e.g. drummer Jorg Michael (Saxon, Avenger, Rage, Grave Digger, Stratovarius etc) or keyboard player Ferdy Doernberg (Rough Silk, Taraxacum) for example. Throughout Axel Rudi Pell's releases many talented and famous musicians - especially vocalists - entered the ARP camp, including Jeff Scott Soto (ex-everywhere), Rob Rock (Joshua, Impellitteri, M.A.R.S.), Charlie Huhn (Humble Pie, Victory, Deadringer), contributing to top efforts like Wild Obsession (1989), Black Moon Pyramid (1996) or Oceans Of Time (1998).
The Ballads pt.III continues the trilogy of ballads featured in each Axel Rudi Pell studio album, anthemed with bonus or previously unreleased tracks. The Ballads pt.I came out in 1993 covering Axel's three first albums, whereas The Ballads pt.II was released in 1999 featuring ballad excerpts from four albums, so the present ballads compilation comes to cover the guitarist's three latest releases - The Masquerade Ball (2000), Shadow Zone (2002) and Kings And Queens (2004) - featuring two, four and two songs respectively from each album. Attachments in this release are three new recordings: the sentimental Don't Say Goodbye, an acoustic version of the sleeper hit Forever Angel and an appealing cover version of Rainbow's all-time jewel The Temple Of The King. For the average metal fan who's familiar with Axel's music style and compositions there's not much to declare. His style is predictably guitar-heavy but less flashy than Yngwie Malmsteen, with plenty of emphasis on ballads. There's also not much to be said on the band's performance. Musicians like Johnny Gioeli (Hardline, Crush 40), Mike Terrana (same as Jeff Scott Soto - see above) or Ferdy Doernberg need no introduction and surely fit into Axel's plans for heavy-yet-melodic-yet-travelling-yet-sentimental-yet-qulitative music.
The only minus of this release is - obviously - that it's not easy to hear the entire CD at once without falling a little bit asleep, as there's no changeover between fast and slow songs. Yet, The Ballads pt.III is proper for relaxing, traveling your mind, setting a background for your time with your girlfriend and - most of all - confirming the expressions and quality of music Axel Rudi Pell needs - and definitely succeeds - to deliver. This chapter is also closed now Axel, we're waiting for the new one!!!
- Album Highlights: Forever Angel, The Line, Under The Gun and Temple Of The King

7 / 10


"The Ballads III" Track-listing:

Don't Say Goodbye (Previously Unreleased)
Forever Angel (Acoustic) (Previously Unreleased)
The Temple Of The King (Previously Unreleased)
The Line
Sea Of Evil
The Curse Of The Chains
All The Rest Of My Life
Forever Angel
The Temple Of The Holy
Under The Gun

Axel Rudi Pell Lineup:

Axel Rudi Pell - Guitars
Johnny Gioeli - Vocals
Mike Terrana - Drums
Ferdy Doernberg - Keyboards
Volker Krawczak - Bass

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