Released: 2011, SPV
This is a bit of a short, public-service type of review. Like clockwork every 3-4 albums Axel Rudi Pell collects all the slow songs from his recent albums and puts out a compilation. Here we are with the fourth in the series, THE BALLADS IV, featuring the ballads from the albums, MYSTICA (2006), DIAMONDS UNLOCKED (2007), TALES OF THE CROWN (2008) and THE CREST (2010).
While it is nice to have all the slow songs gathered in one place, a real Axel Rudi Pell fan that owns those records will already have all those songs anyway. However, again for the real fans, the only reason to buy this CD, are the three new tracks. Two of them are covers, ‘Holy Diver’ and a cut called ‘Hallelujah’. The former is a really tender rendition of the famed Dio song. It is one of the best versions I’ve ever heard. They slow it way down and load up on the acoustic piano and cello. The latter is a slow song written by a Canadian folk artist by the name of Leonard Cohen. I’ve never heard of him before but I had heard the song once before on the soundtrack of an animated movie my kid owns on DVD. A quick check on-line shows it’s apparently an incredibly popular song, which just goes to show how out of touch I am with folk music. Why Axel Rudi Pell decided to cover it beats me, but it’s a nice enough slow song nonetheless, despite some silly lyrics. Lastly, the one original composition, ‘Where The Wild Waters Flow’ is another classic Pell piece, laden with synthesizer, acoustic guitar, and Gioeli’s charismatic vocal delivery. It is worthy of any of his albums.
So if you are like me and the idea of 75 minutes of Axel Rudi Pell ballads sounds appealing, go grab this. If not I’d suggest picking up one of his 13 full-length studio albums instead, or one of his many other compilation or live albums. Ya can’t go wrong.