|AXEL RUDI PELL
Arrives With His 11th Solo Release
For fans of ex-Steeler guitarist Axel Rudi Pell, the wait is finally over. Now, for the first time, four of Pells acclaimed works are available through U.S. distributor DNA. A fifth, just in time for Christmas, will be a best of, 2 CD compilation titled Wizards Chosen Few, which will hit the streets November 28. Pell was first spotted in the German band Steeler who released four albums between 1984 and 1988. Theirs was a rapid-fire onslaught of over-the-top guitar heroics and searing vocal calisthenics. "Strike Back" was their most praised work while it was "Undercover Animal" that saw the departure of Pell who opted to pursure a solo venture.
Within a year or so the guitarist had formed his own band with Jorg Deisinger (Bonfire), drummer Jorg Michael, bassist Thomas Smuszynski (UDO), and American singer Charlie Huhn (Ted Nugent, Gary Moore, Victory, Humble Pie). He secured a recording contract and released Wild Obsession (1989). The record did well with Steeler fans and soon Pell was building a steady fan base on his own. Rob Rock took on the vocal duties for the second record Nasty Reputation (1991). But with his third album, Eternal Prisoner (1992), Pell started his long-time association with Jeff Scott Soto (Y. Malmsteen). A succession of albums followed including Between The Walls (1994), Black Moon Pyramid (1996), and Magic (1997).
With each record usually came a tour, which increased Pells reputation and flourished his fan base. Unlike other guitarists stepping out of the shadow of their former band, Pells reputation as a songwriter brought him praise and respect from critical corners. For me the song is the most important aspect, he told one online journalist. That means that the melody has to shineonly the vocal melody, the main melody as well. Pells ballads have become statements unto themselves. So much so that he has released two ballad only records, The Ballads I (1993) and The Ballads II (1999).
In 1998 Pell met ex-Hardline singer Johnny Gioeli who replaced Soto and gave his songs an added texture and definition. Oceans Of Time (1998) was the first to feature this current lineup. Masquerade Ball, released this year, is Pells finest to date. A huge fan of Rainbow and Deep Purple and enormously influenced by Mr. Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio, Pells style is firmly rooted in classic hard rock.