Released: 2014, SPV
There is not too much more I could say by way of introduction to Axel Rudi Pell. We have 14 ARP CD reviews in our database! I am a big fan. I own all his albums, and I’ve written a number of reviews of his CD’s over the years, so my opinion is naturally biased. Over the course of so many years some albums are stronger, some are a bit weaker but I’m pleased to say that INTO THE STORM, his 16th studio album is a very strong effort.
There has been a little change as the band has experienced their first line-up change in 14 years as Mike Terrana vacates the drum throne. His replacement is another drum titan, Bobby Rondinelli whose history with Rainbow make him the perfect candidate, because let’s face it, Axel Rudi Pell is the new Richie Blackmore and has been for 20 years. His band carries on that grand tradition of the Rainbow sound that so few bands dare to attempt these days.
I don’t like the word ‘formula’. It can have a negative connotation and implies lack of creativity. I prefer to consider it a signature style and INTO THE STORM is a quintessential ARP record. It has a nice intro, a couple of speedy tracks to start off, a ballad or two, a cover tune (this time Neil Young) and of course a grand 10+ epic to close the album, just like many of his records. If the cynics and critics want to call it a formula, so be it, I prefer to think of it as consistently adhering to the bands vision without compromise. We need more artists like Axel Rudi Pell that don’t compromise their sound for commercial interest. The first thing that I noticed is that Axel’s guitar tone has a bit more bite this time out. The whole album seems a bit faster and heavier than the last couple. Johnny Gioeli sings his heart out his voice never wavers, never falters. Axel plays in his usual classy style with elegant and understated solos across the entire album. An album highlight is the grande finale, the epic title track with a mystical, middle-eastern, musical sound and a nautical lyrical theme.
Once again like clockwork, (every two years since 1998) Axel delivers another excellent album with great production, a gorgeous cover and 10 songs in the Deep Purple/Rainbow/80’s Black Sabbath/Dio style with that classic European Metal sensibility. INTO THE STORM is one of his stronger albums in several years.