Axel Rudi Pell - Diamonds Unlocked
Guitar heroes; a dead tribe or just a quiet one? Indeed the days when Vai, Malmsteen and Satriani shared the limelight are more visions in the rear-view now. Still, some keep the torch aflame and for the fans, it's rare to hear the style done and done right. Germany's Axel Rudi Pell is one of Europe's longest-running and most experienced guitar masters, and his fame across the continent and abroad is well documented. For his next project, Axel looked towards some of his favorite tracks from a variety of musical styles (not wanting to pigeon-hole his artistic self by sticking to metal covers) and the results were named Diamonds Unlocked. Some of this material is quite unique and benefits greatly from the beefing-up provided. Other tracks sound like faithful recreations. Above all, the energy and passion in Axel's playing provides constant enjoyment despite your feelings about the 10 songs he chose to honor.
Starting with a natural choice, infamous rockers Riot's "Warrior" was a wise choice, as the fireball of a track sets a nice pace. There is an intro track before this but it's nothing to write home about. Following "Warrior" is a quick curveball; a version of U2's "Beautiful Day" that actually sounds 200% improved over the original. Seriously, Pell shows Edge how that wonderfully melodic main lick should sound, with more weight (read: impact) and passion. Another highlight is an acoustic tribute to legends Kiss and their "Love Gun" single. They work a more moody and dark atmosphere over it, somehow making it their own. After a few more, including a shocker of a cover coming from Michael Bolton (Ha!), "Fools Game". Not bad actually. The album ends on two brilliant numbers, Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight" and The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again".
As a collection of covers, you won't soon find one that manages to capture such high spirits and passion as Diamonds Unlocked. It's crystal clear how much love Axel Rudi Pell has for these songs and artists; it's all translated easily into each and every song. I'm not the biggest fans of covers, I believe mostly in an artist's creative claim on the songs they've written and finding an exception with Diamonds Unlocked has been a most pleasant surprise. If your dying for a fix of guitar heroism and you're also itching to hear some tasty classic-style metal, you can't go wrong here.
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on 2007-10-09 SolitaryMan Said:
You sometimes get that feeling when you listen to him play too. That MAY be an outdated photograph, but knowing he's from Europe...it probably isn't.
on 2007-10-09 dscanland Said:
Ha, that hair! OMG. That's awesomely old school! He's wanting to be Yngwie Malmsteen.