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Axel Rudi Pell
Kings and Queens
March 2004
Released: 2004, Steamhammer/SPV/Playground Music
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

The German demon guitarist, Axel Rudi Pell, is back with his 10th album. No further introduction should be needed for this man. If you are a fan of melodic hard rock, you should know who Axel Rudi Pell is.

This time Mr. Pell has brought with him a brilliant singer. Mr. Johnny Gioeli has a stunning voice and a broad vocal range that he knows exactly how to handle. Mike Terrana (Rage) plays the drums on this album and he is as always, as steady as a rock. Mr. Pell is superior on guitar; he does some amazing guitar playing that sounds extraordinary like Yngwie Malmsteen. This album focuses around Mr. Pell’s guitar playing so he is clearly the “star” of the album. The album presents some melodic hard rock at its best.

Charlie Bauerfeind with Axel has produced KINGS AND QUEENS and the production is great. There’s nothing to complain about there. Onto the songs…“THE GATE” is a shorter intro with only keyboard that goes straight into the first song “FLYIN’ HIGH”. This is a fast power metal track influenced by melodic hard rock. Already Mr. Gioeli shows that he really has a great vocal capacity. Mr. Terrana plays the double bass pedals straight through the song and Mr. Pell shows off his skill on guitar. “COLD HEAVEN” and “ONLY THE STRONG WILL SURVIVE” are ordinary mid-tempo melodic hard rock tracks. Gioeli and Pell take a big part of the sound picture. “STRONG AS A ROCK” is more of an up tempo ballad, also with a sing a long friendly chorus. This song has a big potential to become a radio hit. Pell does a really nice guitar solo in the middle of the song. “FOREVER ANGEL” is a very slow ballad. Gioeli once again shows his broad vocal range and Pell plays his guitar beautifully. “LEGIONS OF HELL” sounds like a tribute to Black Sabbath. It’s very heavy hard rock with heavy bass playing at the beginning of the song along with grinding guitars and vocals at the top of the mix. This song could fit into any Sabbath album with Dio or Tony Martin. “SAILING AWAY” is again a very slow ballad who’s tempo rises in the chorus and it turns into an up tempo ballad. “TAKE THE CROWN” has an intro with guitar and vocals and then comes a short stop before Pell kicks off the song once again. This song has a lot of tempo changes and Pell does a razor sharp guitar solo. “SEA OF EVIL” starts off with all of the guys and with a slow tempo. At the top of the mix there are vocals that shares with guitars. This is another ballad with some keyboards in the sound picture. The song is almost 9 minutes long with a bit too much repetition of the chorus.

The only minor thing with this brilliant album is the amount of ballads. There could have been a few less slow songs. Otherwise I don’t have so much to complain about. This is strong melodic hard rock of a high standard straight through. My favorite songs are “FLYIN’ HIGH”, “STRONG AS A ROCK”, “COLD HEAVEN” and “LEGIONS OF HELL” amongst others. Axel and the guys have made a very strong 10th album that grows on you the more you listen to it.

Labels: AND
Track Listing

The gate (intro)
Flyin’ high
Cold heaven
Strong as a rock
Forever angel
Legions of hell
Only the strong will survive
Sailing away
Take the crown
Sea of evil


Johnny Gioeli – lead vocals
Axel Rudi Pell – guitar
Ferdy Doernberg – keyboard
Volker Krawczak – bass
Mike Terrana – drums


Next review: » Axel Rudi Pell - Kings and Queens
Previous review: » Axel Rudi Pell - Into The Storm

Axel Rudi Pell
Kings and Queens
May 2004
Released: 2004, SPV
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: JP

One of the complaints I’ve heard about MR Pell is lack of progression. Well, screw that. I don’t want progression. I like ARP’s signature sound. I want him to play in the same style and thankfully he has ignored the critics and detractors and delivered a CD for the fans.

Axel has delivered his tenth studio album, a milestone by any standard. Axel and his companions are steadfast, reliable and have presented yet another sterling album in the unmistakable ARP signature sound. The album of course kicks off with a brief intro (with harpischord) and launches into a traditional speedy rocker with Jonny Gioeli singing his heart out. Every song is a winner, majestic epics, catchy rockers, somber ballads. ARP of course retains the dio/Rainbow sound in places much to my delight.

The consistency is what I love about this band. Again the same line-up graces us…what is that now, five studio albums in a row with the same line-up? It’s that dedication to the art-form that makes ARP a success. I draw a parallel with Impelliterri. Chris went experimental and kept changing and consequently doesn’t have the identifiable style nor nearly the global success as Axel does.

All the necessary components are in place, great production, great lyrics, great art on the cover, top-notch performances by world-class veterans and most of all great metal songs.
Track Listing







Next review: » Axel Rudi Pell - Knights Live
Previous review: » Axel Rudi Pell - Into The Storm

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