AXEL RUDI PELL - „Circle Of The Oath“
It seems that since the invention of the World Wide Web and especially the MP3 the music industry in particularly suffers from free file sharing, illegal downloading and unauthorized copying. A whole business is in a midst of a crisis. That´s what we are all hearing from the media. But it is really true? Let’s take a short look at one of those who doesn’t accept the word crisis at all. Let’s go to Germany, let’s check out one their finest musicians over there:
Axel Rudi Pell has sold 1.5 million records worldwide. He’s been in this business for over 30 years now, nearly a quarter of a century as a solo artist, writing, producing and recording records under his own moniker. The secret of his success is as simple as brilliant at the same time: He loves to play the music he grew up listening to and passes the torch to the next generation of rock fans around the globe. Call it Hard rock, call it Melodic Metal – it’s bloody good, that’s for sure.
Since leaving the influential German metal outfit Steeler in 1988 he’s recorded and toured with the finest bunch of singers in the world of rock: Charlie Huhn (Ted Nugent, Gary Moore, Victory, Humble Pie, Foghat), Rob Rock (Impelliteri, Driver, Joshua, Avantasia), Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen, Soul Sirkus, Talisman, Journey, Trans-Siberian Orchestra) and last, but not least the mighty Johnny Gioeli who’s has been working with Axel since 1998 (of course, being in Hardline before that, a project started by Journey’s guitar legend Neal Schon in 1991). There were great drummers as well, for example legendary Joerg Michael (Rage, Grave Digger, Saxon, Running Wild, Stratovarius), before the unbeatable Mike Terrana joined the Pell ranks in 1998 (being in Masterplan, Savage Circus, Rage and working with Yngwie Malmsteen, Tony MacAlpine, Steve Lukather and Tarja). On bass we’ll find Axel’s good old friend from those old Steeler days: Volker Krawczak being the foundation that Axel’s sound is built on. Not to forget his musical partner in crime, the wizard on the black and white keys: Ferdy Doernberg who worked with Rough Silk, Helloween, Holy Moses, Therion and others.
Axel does not need to motivate himself, he’s one those guys that had to be stopped and sheltered from themselves. He’s too good in picking up ideas out of the blue; he’s always working on new songs. There’s not been a day in his life where he wasn’t playing guitar. No wonder he had a whole album written when his last effort „Ballads IV“ crashed into the German charts in September 2011, making it up to No. 29.
Works on „Circle Of The Oath“ started in November. It is – believe it or not – Axel Rudi Pell‘s 14. (in words: fourteenth!) studio album! It is good? It is different, you might ask? Yes and no. Being a well attuned team, it all went down great. „Circle Of The Oath“ is ARP in its purest form, but also different. Especially lyrical wise, there’s more depths and craftsmanship. The kings and wizards are gone, the search for the meaning of life kicks in. Times are tough; this is the soundtrack, if you will:
From the atmospheric intro „The Guillotine Suite“ on it’s a rollercoaster ride: „Ghost In The Black“, a classic ARP double bass opener with a guitar-keyboard solo that Blackmore and Lord could easily relate to. The drop-out hymn „Run With The Wind“ and the hard rocking masher „Before I Die“ are followed by the album’s centerpiece: „Circle Of The Oath“ and its almost 10 minutes of acoustic guitars and oriental riffing is a tune, once heard, will never leave you. The melodic anti-war cry „Fortunes Of War“ seems to be just one hell of a chorus as „Bridges To Nowhere“ is epic at its best. And the ballad „Lived Our Lives Before“ is not a bloody love song! „Hold On To Your Dreams“ is a full on keyboard throttle, before „World Of Confusion (The Masquerade Ball Pt. II)“ finishes the album as the longest song. You know what? In these desperate times it’s good to have constants in life. Things you can hold on to. And that’s what Axel’s music is best for: He never was more appreciated than today!
- Johnny Gioeli: Lead und Backing Vocals
- Axel Rudi Pell: Lead, Rhythm und Acoustic Guitar
- Ferdy Doernberg: Keyboards
- Volker Krawczak: Bass
- Mike Terrana: Drums