Fifteen studio albums in 25 years is rather impressive, with Into The Storm the latest. That's how long guitarist Axel Rudi Pell has been releasing material under his solo moniker. He's also one of the few guitarists that has had a consistent band. With exception of new drummer Bobby Rondinelli (Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Blue Öyster Cult et al), replacing Mike Terrana, most have been with him for better than 26 years. That says something to both leadership and loyalty.
What also remains is Pell's consistency, not merely as a guitar virtuoso but also as a songwriter. Sure, some might say earlier material was more a platform for his neo-classical guitar magic. Yet, experience and time have made Pell into one who sees his guitar as both part of the whole and the focus of attention. Generally, this works out to a great song with Pell's guitar wizardry surfacing in epic solos. You get this in songs like Touching Heaven, Tower of Lies, and Changing Times.
Overall, then, Into The Storm focuses on the song development surrounding Pell's axe work in a more melodic heavy metal motif. While remaining true to classic heavy metal roots, one might say that this album brings more rock groove, more addictive melody. You here this Long Way To Go, and the aforementioned Tower of Lies and Changing Times. But Pell and company can stay heavy too. Don't let the light start fool you, Touching Heaven is straight heavy metal as is the longer title cut and High Above, which pushes a pace close to power metal.
Of course, a Pell album is not without a ballad, and you get it with When Truth Hurts, with a dose of piano and vocalist Johnny Gioeli soaring and passionate. Yet the biggest surprise my be Pell's cover of Neil Young's Hey Hey My My, taking the electric version and turning it into a new Pell ballad. With Into The Storm, Axel Rudi Pell strays little from his consistent and constant path of guitar driven metal, but fans might like the band bumping up the rock groove in several songs, and find it a bit different. Recommended.
Into The Storm is another gem from guitarist Axel Rudi Pell and band, consistent and entertaining guitar driven heavy metal with a touch more rock groove in several songs.
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