|Review: Axel Rudi Pell - Diamonds Unlocked|
Year released: 2007
Genre: Melodic Heavy Metal
Review online: February 16, 2008
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
What more can be said about Axel Rudi Pell? Virtuous, heroic, charismatic; the list of superlatives describing Germany's most versatile guitarist is longer than his string of releases in his 25 year career. He happens to be one of the leading shredders on the European circuit, but he also exercises a penchant for sickly ballads and lacklustre hard rock. So what does he have for us this time? Oh. A collection of hard rock covers. Great.
While the dubiously named Diamonds Unlocked isn't all bollocks, a huge chunk of this disc is dominated by well performed but poorly chosen 'classics' that sadly pall compared to Pell's original material. The production is strong, the performances of Pell, Gioeli, and crew are as powerful as ever, but the songs themselves just suffer at the hand that feeds, meaning that Pell just doesn't have what it takes to turn these rather difficult excursions and turn them into something palatable. Take Phil Collins's "In the Air Tonight" for example, which could have benefited from Terrana's battering double bass assault, but doesn't. U2's "Beautiful Day", a Power Metal conversion? Again, no dice. Then take the acoustic treatment Kiss's "Love Gun" is given, which is possibly the worst decision Pell has ever made. The redeeming feature is simply the fantastic opener "Warrior" - a track originally performed by Riot - which sees Pell and his gang of melodic maestros actually doing a better job than the aforementioned metallers. In all honesty, I can't see this thing appealing to anything but Pell's core fan base, because despite the engaging concept and intriguing title, Diamonds Unlocked should be locked away to rust until the end of time.
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