Reviewed: July, 2020
Released: 2020, SPV
It’s been eight long years. Back in 2012 or so right around the press/promo cycle for his 15th studio album, CIRCLE OF THE OATH, Axel Rudi Pell said (paraphrased) “We will not be using double kick drums on my albums anymore, because it’s boring.” Naturally, I was very saddened by this not only because I’m a fan of speed, but it meant the overall effect was to slow down his albums.
Pell has been comfortable with the same signature style (or formula if you prefer) for the last 30 years. Every album had two or three fast ones, a couple of anthems, some mid-tempo stuff, maybe a 10 minute epic and a couple of ballads. His albums were all well balanced. When he took take away the fast songs for the last three studio albums, they seemed much mellower.
Fast forward to the very beginning of 2020. Pell, about to launch his 19th album, SIGN OF THE TIMES had a press release that said, that faster drums are in use again! I was very excited to hear this and although I really enjoy everything Pell has done since Day 1, it is nice to hear a bit more fire in the belly again. The album is not saturated in raging and relentless double-kick flurries but is a faster, heavier album.
SIGN OF THE TIMES, is as mentioned his 19thstudio album. He is still on SPV, with the same line-up and like clockwork, every two years we get a new studio album. I’m pleased to report there are no real changes to style of the album. Johnny Gioeli vocals are still indestructible and Pell’s signature Rainbow/Scorpions inspired song-writing and classic guitar tone are fully intact.
Long time readers may know I’m a fan and champion, so for me this is yet another excellent album of classic, melodic Metal.