|Review: Axel Rudi Pell - Game of Sins|
|Game of Sins|
Year released: 2016
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: January 25, 2016
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
for:Game of Sins
Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (2 Votes)
Only two years after an ok effort in Into the Storm, Axel Rudi Pell (guitars), Johnny Gioeli (vocals), Volker Krawczak (bass), Ferdy Doernberg (keyboards) and Bobby Rondinelli (drums) release Game of Sins, the band's 15th studio album. Following the traditional sound solidified through the years, the album stands as another classic Axel Rudi Pell work, with the powerful opener, the ballad, the long epic tune, the rock 'n' roll song...It's all here. Which brings me to the characteristic sound Axel always makes: the main problem with this type of approach is that it becomes really hard to differentiate the songs from one album in particular; they all sound practically the same. The powerful opener mentioned above this time is "Fire", which in turn could easily be mistaken with "Too late" or "Tower of Lies" from The Crest and Into the Storm respectively. Another good example is the follow-up "Sons in the Night", taking the rebel attitude seen in songs like "Rock the Nation", not to mention the start to "The King of Fools" being a complete rip-off of "Carousel". The songs lack creativity and seem to have been played on automatic. "Falling Star", "Till the World Says Goodbye" and the title track are quality efforts, with the latter being the longest at 8:43 minutes and offering the most diversified experience in the album. "Lost in Love" is the obligatory ballad and is probably the most forgettable song of the bunch, with "Breaking the Rules" and "Forever Free" closing the game in a decent manner, as they are neither horrible nor magnificent.
The production is crystal clear, as always, and the musicians all play their part well, with Johnny Gioeli once again stealing the spotlight with powerful and emotional vocals and a unique charisma. Ferdy's keyboards provide a cool atmosphere and Volker and Axel work flawlessly together (which is no shocker, as they have been together since day one). The only thing that bugs me, and always has, is the fact that the drumming parts are bland and uninspired. This is not Bobby's fault in any way, as this problem is recurrent in every Axel Rudi Pell album in the last 10 years, when Mike Terrana was in charge. I get the feeling that Axel holds his drummers back in order to sound a bit more like the late 70s bands that didn't use double pedals or some sort of fancy technique. If this is really the case, a computer-programmed drum would do the job just fine, but this makes Bobby (and Terrana before him) look bad, and they are anything but mediocre drummers.
Being a longtime listener of the band, I recognize the importance of continuity and sticking to a winning formula, but I'm also a reviewer, and it actually bothers me that the band's been releasing the same album for eight years now. If you manage to get past the lack of inspiration and the fact that the formulaic sound will always be here, you will get a few spins out of this. I would recommend it only for hardcore fans of the band who don't mind hearing the same melodies over and over or the casual listener who doesn't know enough of the band to care about this.
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