Steamhammer/SPV [Release date 21.04.17]
Axel Rudi Pell has been releasing these ballads collections since 1993 and it was six years since ‘IV’ was released. Always a good mix of previously released material, covers and few new songs, ‘V’ is no exception to this rule.
Axel Rudi Pell managed to entice Bonnie Tyler to guest on ‘Love’s Holding On’, a song he wrote specifically for Tyler. It works really well as the gravely vocals of Tyler and Johnny Gioeli (also a member of Hardline) suit each other well. The other new song on here, ‘On The Edge Of Our Time’ is not bad but does seem overlong clocking in at over seven minutes.
The surprise on the album is an Ed Sheeran cover, ‘I See Fire’, chosen as it features on ‘The Hobbit’ soundtrack. Really good version, with the piano giving way to a suitably grandiose solo from Mr Pell. The other cover on here, Neil Young’s ‘Hey Hey My My’, does take a few plays to get used to mainly as it is slowed right down from the original to adapt to the ballad format. It works though!
Axel Rudi Pell makes no attempt to hide his admiration of Ritchie Blackmore’s playing and the live version of ‘Mistreated’ is a welcome bonus. Recorded at Pell’s 25th anniversary show in 2014 it features former Rainbow members Doogie White on vocals and Tony Carey on keyboards. A real guitar tour de force and treat to round this album off on.
Axel Rudi Pell fans won’t need urging to get this one, however if you’ve never tried one of his ballads collections before this as good a place as any to start. Should widen his appeal give the Bonnie Tyler guest spot and the Ed Sheeran cover. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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