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Review: Axel Rudi Pell - Oceans Of Time
Axel Rudi Pell
www.axel-rudi-pell.de
Oceans Of Time

Label: Steamhammer
Year released: 1998
Duration: 63:29
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: June 20, 2004
Reviewed by: Zarzak
Readers Rating
for:
Oceans Of Time

Rated 4.71/5 (94.12%) (17 Votes)
Review


I feel I should start off this review by saying that I had to write it because of this band not having a review listed for them yet. This is one of my favorite bands, at least with its current line-up. See this band has had quite a lengthy history, going through many line-up changes. Axel Rudi Pell is the songwriter and Guitarist, and has been the only consistent member. In fact this is the sixth release from the band, not including one live album and another sort of "best of" with different versions of songs from other albums.

I tried to listen to earlier work from this band, thinking someone with such a large cateloge has to have some good music. However I was lost while downloading songs to give them a try, as every song had a seemingly different sound and singer. I gave up and moved on. However, sometime later I got on a downloading spree again and came across "Oceans of Time" (the song) and was blown away by it. After hearing it a few times I was hooked, and looked into the band a lot further, and boy has it been worth it.

This is the first album with vocalist Johnny Gioeli, who is absolutely fantastic. He is completly underrated, as is this whole band. This is the current singer, and the band is going strong with a release every year. If you like this singer, you'll definitely be happy to hear they are doing so well. It also features MISTER power metal drumming Jorg Michael. Whose played with many bands including Grave Digger, Running Wild, and of course Stratovarius. However, this is his last album for the band, but they get another great drummer to help out after.

Now, first thing first, this is not your Hammerfall/Gamma Ray power metal. This is definitely more mellow and less heavy. It's not for everyone, but if someone wants some amazing musicmanship and is sick of 60 minutes of non stop double bass drumming and power chords, this is for you. There are a few rockers on the album, but the best songs are the mid paced ones that allow for Axel's amazing skills. Think of him as more of a Richie Blackmore than Yngwie Malmsteen, churning out amazing solos and catchy yet simple riffs with a sort of bluesy touch to them.

The first song is sort of an Intro Track with some funky noises and such, kinda setting the mood I guess for the "Fantasy Setting" the album takes on. The first song, Pay the Price, is along the lines of the typical power metal song. Fast paced, simple structure with a good solo. It’s not great, but not bad. However the album just skyrockets from there, as the next track is an amazing one, and i'll just mention the highlights of the album.

Carousel is one of those mid paced SOMEwhat poppy songs I mentioned before. The open riff is so simple and catchy, then when the lead comes in to join it with the drums and the rest of the music, it REALLY gets catchy. The great thing here is, that rather than cut that part short and get into the singing, they let it ride out a bit, and this, is the best part of this band. They let the music play! Look at the track lengths! Most songs are over 6 minutes long.....Most bands have thier "epics" only 6 minutes long.

Ashes from the Oath is another breathtaking song. With probably one of the greatest solos i've heard from a 90's album. About 4 minutes of the song is a slow, thought provoking melody with a great chance for the singer to show off his amazing range and talent. However the rest of the song is musical, and it takes you for one hell of a trip. It starts off slow, with some beautiful soloing with a simple drum beat, but progressively it gets faster and faster. Eventually going to awesome speed with the double bass drums going full blast while Axel plays on with an insanely catchy solo. This song is one you have to hear over and over to truely appreciate it's greatness.

The Gates of the Seven Seals is, un-suprisingly, another epic song, coming in at a nice 10:37 minutes. This is another showcase of how great this band is at letting things groove and give Axel the room he needs to play. It's a nice simple beat, with a simple bassline, with Axel playing a very catchy Wah-peddled Lead. Fantastic song

And Finally, in my opinion, one of the best "Ballads" i've heard, Oceans of Time. This is a slow track, obviously, but it's amazing. This is what great ballads should soundlike. The singer is able to give such great emotion and feeling, its really something else. The several mini-solos in this song are just so amazing too. They kind of hit a nerve (or note) that makes you feel pain from the solo. Axel is unbelievable at expressing emotion through his guitar, and this is the best example of it.

The rest of the song I haven't mentioned are all, sadly, seemingly like fillers. They are catchy, and props go to Holy Creatures for being quite strange yet delightful. They are more or less pretty typical and somewhat bland. They are enjoyable, but just pale in comparision to the amazing songs on this album.

Buy this Album, it's a very good gem for your collection. It's also nice to know that this band, and the core of this group, is still making CD's, so you can look forward to more.


Track Listing:
  1. Slaves of the Twilight (1:50)
  2. Pay the Price (6:17)
  3. Carousel (8:.01)
  4. Ashes From the Oath (9:36)
  5. Ride the Rainbow (4:55)
  6. Oceans of Time (7:47)
  7. Prelude to the Moon (5:04)
  8. Living on the Wildside (4:53)
  9. Holy Creatures (6:34)
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