Axel Rudi Pell - The Crest (SPV/Riot)

Album no. 19 (depending on whether you count compilations or not) from Axel Rudi Pell offers nothing new, nothing that will make you go WTF? but then again, why change a winning formula?

With Johnny Gioeli once again providing a voice that sits somewhere between Ronnie James Dio circa Rainbow and The Scorpions Klaus Meine, a rhythm section that’s been together for a good decade or more now, and Pell’s solid but never over-the-top fret work, this band long ago hit on a formula that works and they evidently see no reason to fuck with it. 

What you get here is solid, clean, understated, classic European Metal – no gimmicks, no bombshells, no attempts to update with rap or sampling or fancy stuff, just a good sound, solid riffs, a damn good voice and songs that stand up to repeated listening. 

This album, like previous efforts, steadily builds, pulling you in; until about midway through you find yourself tapping your foot, humming along and pulling out some nifty air guitar moves of your own. (This is embarrassing if you’re in public with your ipod on, okay if you’re in your lounge room.)  

Burning Rain is a cracker, Devil Zone, Dreaming Dead, Too Late… nothing that could be could classic or essential but nothing bad either.  And while Gioeli is no Ronnie James he does have a pretty fair set of lungs and he knows his way around a tune. 

This album won’t set the world on fire but it does what it sets out to do – and that is to entertain.  Fans of ARP will not be disappointed and if you like your metal old school - that is Dio, Rainbow, Scorpions style old school - well, you won’t be disappointed either.

Axel Rudi Pell's The Crest is out now on SPV/Riot.