Release DetailsLABEL SPV
RELEASED ON 4/1/2005
Axel Rudi Pell
The Ballads III
posted on 8/2005 By:
Ask the average metalhead what they think of Axel Rudi Pell, you’re likely to get one of two answers: “He wishes he was Yngwie Malmsteen” or “Who?” Even after some 20 years, he’s just not that well known. While Malmsteen has made it big by being an incredible virtuoso, Pell has opted, so it seems, to make his mark by showing off his ballad writing prowess, hence this collection, the third such release which contains all the ballads from his most recent albums. He must be damn proud of these things, but I can’t possibly imagine why.
Eight previously released tracks plus three new recordings are featured here, not so you’d really notice. They are all pretty much built around the same framework that was being used 20 years ago on hits like “Alone Again”, “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn”, and “Don’t Close Your Eyes” (none of which are by this guy, for those of you that won’t know any better). These were all great songs back in their day, but it helped that they were usually the only ballad on their respective albums. It does say something though that almost any of the tracks on The Ballads III would fit in perfectly on one of those Monster Ballads collections that you keep hidden away in your CD collection, only to be heard again when you’re pushing 50 and need to use one of them to seduce your 23 year old lady friend. This should tell you more than enough about the album, but let’s keep going, talk about a few tracks, and have a little fun.
The album starts out with the three new recordings, one of them being a cover of Rainbow’s “The Temple of the King”. It’s faithful to the original if nothing else, and may well have been the impetus behind the new track “Don’t Say Goodbye”, which sounds almost identical to it. The other new track is an acoustic version of “Forever Angel”, which is as wholly uninteresting as the original that is heard later on. “Heartbreaker” has a promising keyboard intro, but falls right back into the same old groove after that, aside from a heavy solo section. Speaking of solos, if these are any indication of Pell’s chops, he needs to hang it up immediately. Of course, a ballad isn’t the ideal place to be busting out arpeggios and harmonics, but still, give us something.
Back to the tracks, “The Line” shows off a few new angles here, departing from the otherwise omnipresent structure, owing more to the ballads of Dio than Dokken with it’s heavy choruses. “Sea of Evil” works in a similar vein lyrically, as this is more of a somber tale than a ballad. Musically, it’s back to the usual with the exception of a few dramatic passages. “All the Rest of My Life” stood out as the best one here, as I detected a slight swelling in my throat during the first half of this song. At 8 minutes, though, it’s perhaps a bit long, and the emotion fades away. I yawned through the last three tracks, but I was still paying attention as I tried to salvage something there to report, but nothing.
Don’t waste your time or money with this, even if you’re a fan. The three new recordings aren’t worth it. Damn, even the Scorpions knew better than to release a ballads-only album. If Axel Rudi Pell ever releases The Ballads IV, I’m flying to Germany and kicking his ass.
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