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Axel Rudi Pell - "Shadow Zone"
SPV 2002

A magic fingered king finally confirmed his music style with "Shadow Zone". So a comparisons between him and R. Blackmore is no longer to be needed here. Hard rock with a real heavy metal vampire sound. A venomous and extreme live stratocaster bomber.

Lyrics of perfect structured songs have a lot to do with black magic again. But "The Edge Of The World" and "Under The Gun" are critical touch of the social hemisphere. So a great changes in melody of very well composed breaks into instrumental parts are leading us to a core (what I meant here is Axel's fast hammering of his solos) and than through well done outros back into main riffs or choruses. There is great balance between all instruments and al those breaks are fitted very well into songs. Of course Axel's Fender Stratocaster is pushed in front, ripping as hell again. A great atmosphere is also achieved with keyboards that are intensively used especially during main riffs and choruses. Keyboards includes in "Time Of The Truth", Heartbreaker" and "Under The Gun" an organ sound. Otherwise, atmospheric keyboard backline mainly covers guitar work.

Main riffs are easy, opened and complete powerful drive beauty. Structure of a songs leaves Johny Gioeli a lot of space for improvising his great vocal abilities. A slightly rough coloured vocal is carrying all the power created forward into choruses, where it becomes especially on higher sequences clean as an eye. A fantastic performance.

Mike Terrana hits the drums. Another reason that makes "Shadow Zone" a pure jewel. Again a great bridges shows who is the boss on a drums. And a fat bass line can be also well heared. So if I will say in general that all musicians are positioned in every single second of a new record on a right places. This line up just simply knows what it wants.

The last song "Under The Gun" ends with an opening riff from Hendrix's "Purple Haze", this ending is played with wah effect on a very special and attractive way. But the absolute highlight as an composition is "Time Of The Truth" with bluesy intro and great chorus. We can find mainly half ballads on Pell's new release. But he is the strongest as composer here. The only real double bass speed killer is opener "The Edge Of The World".

Diverse structured songs, a great atmosphere, a quality sound production that keeps the entire work alive and especially well balanced involvement of all instruments will never let you down. This is by no means the absolute highlight of Pell's composing. A great chemistry!

Author:   Aleš

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