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Review: Axel Rudi Pell - Tales of the Crown
Axel Rudi Pell
Tales of the Crown

Label: SPV
Year released: 2008
Duration: 60:30
Tracks: 10
Genre: Melodic Heavy Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: November 25, 2008
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating
Tales of the Crown

Rated 3.53/5 (70.59%) (17 Votes)

Axel Rudi Pell albums are rather like a bottle of European beer; they look better than they taste, but the more you have, the better they become. After a long 25 year career as one of the world's most respected axe-slingers- not to mention Germany's most notorious composer of ballads — Axel and his incredibly talented backline have produced many noteworthy albums in the Melodic Metal cannon, but none that have really cemented him with a core fan base. Perhaps due to his saccharine mélange of styles, Axel has struggled to keep things fresh and interesting for the modern day, and despite his protestations to the latter with his latest opus, Tales of the Crown is a decent addition to 2008's lackluster hit list, but nothing new is to be found within its ridges.

While this is possibly Axel's most listenable album to date, there are still many sterile moments where you'd wish he'd bring back the rampant Power Metal assault of old and kick things into gear. Thankfully those moments are few and far between, especially during "Buried Alive" and the captivating "Angel Eyes", tracks that actually fill their boots with double-kicks, sweeping guitars and soaring melodies; but as Axel leads us through yet another album that skates between ballsy Hard Rock and mid-paced Power Metal you are struck with the feeling it's all been said before. Still, there are some kick ass tunes to be heard, including charging opener "Higher", the pugilistic "Ain't Gonna Win" and the album's creative highlight, soulful instrumental "Emotional Echoes".

As per usual Mike Terrana's drum work is on the mark and vocalist Johnny Gioeli's melodies are nothing short of magic, but as bands like Masterplan and Eden's Curse are taking the lead in hook laden-Melodic Heavy Metal these days, it seems that Axel's hourglass is running quicksand, and his days might numbered.

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