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Tales of the Crown

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Album Review

Some artists make a conscious effort to change with the times; others reason that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell is clearly of the latter mindset, which is probably just as well because even though his albums can be quite predictable, they are generally solid. Tales of the Crown is no exception; this 2008 release is totally oblivious to metal trends of the late 2000s, but that doesn't prevent every one of the tracks from being pleasingly solid. The only thing that lets you know this is a 2008 release is the release date; stylistically, melodic but hard-rocking tracks such as "Angel Eyes" (not to be confused with the old Matt Dennis standard), "Buried Alive," and "Riding on an Arrow" are firmly planted in the 1970s and 1980s. Old-school headbangers like Ronnie James Dio, Rainbow, Deep Purple, and UFO continue to inspire Pell creatively, and he makes no effort to update his approach. Again, that is probably for the best; as predictable as Tales of the Crown is, Pell never sounds bored or uninspired. Quite the contrary — he sounds like he gets a lot of pleasure from his 1970s/1980s comfort zone. And once again, former Hardline frontman Johnny Gioeli comes through for Pell. Gioeli still sounds a lot like Jon Bon Jovi, but none of the material on this hourlong CD is Bon Jovi-ish; while Bon Jovi's hard rock/pop-metal was never heavy metal in the strict sense, Tales of the Crown is very much a metal album. And it is also an enjoyable indication that in some cases, artists are probably better off not changing with the times.


Born: 27 June 1960 in Wattenscheid, Germany

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

German guitarist Axel Rudi Pell is one of heavy metal's masterminds, thanks to his spiraling playing techniques, which helped Pell remain a mainstay in the hard rock genre for decades. His first band, Steeler, kicked off a career in Europe during the early part of the '80s, issuing three albums (1984's Steeler, 1985's Rulin' the Earth, 1986's Strike Back) prior to 1987's Undercover Animal, which signaled the beginning of Pell's solo career. This professional jaunt allowed Pell to fully expose his...
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Tales of the Crown, Axel Rudi Pell
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