Guitar wizard AXEL RUDI PELL releases his new album tomorrow April 21, 2017 via Steamhammer / SPV. Entitled “The Ballads V”, as the name suggests, it's a collection of ballads plus new material. You’re not wrong about the “V” either – yes this is his fifth Ballads album, which seems a lot even considering how long his career has been, but there’s clearly a demand for it.
When you listen to the album it’s clear why people keep buying Pell's Ballads albums – this is a great release.
The fact that the blond guitarist is too ambitious to just take some of his old songs and put them on a new disc, things get quite exciting on “The Ballads V”.
Starting with “Love’s Holding On” means approaching the first stunning highlight. This is a new track and Pell invited a guest, no less than Bonnie Tyler who agreed to do a gorgeous duet with Johnny Gioeli. This song is the first single and it’s a great choice. These voices are in perfect harmony, making the tune to a great opener.
After such an impressive beginning it’s “I See Fire” that’s next. No guests are included but it’s new track, but a cover version. And to our surprise, it’s a song from shooting star Ed Sheeran composed for The Hobbit movie. The tune is rearranged and fits perfect to Axel Rudi Pell’s sound.
To round off a great start into the album means also mentioning “On the Edge of Our Time”. Like the first double header also this tune is a new one. It’s a typical power ballad that comes with a lot of feels. I must say that the song doesn’t bring a lot of new to the table, but in the end, it’s a well-done ballad of which a lot of other bands only could dream of.
The next tracks are better known since they have been released on regular studio albums. However, the fact that tunes like “When Truth Hurts” and especially “Hey Hey My My” (originally by Neil Young) are excellent ballads makes this album still to an entertaining experience that acts as a silent counterpart to the hectic daily life.
For the end there's two live songs. A previously unreleased take of “The Line”, followed by a superb 14 minutes version of Deep Purple’s “Mistreated” that was recorded at Bang Your Head Festival in 2014 with Doogie White on vocals.
“The Ballads V” is much more than just a 'compilation album', because many of us do not have all the discs were some songs come from, and there's 3 new tracks plus a previously unreleased one.
My conclusion is “The Ballads V” is closer to a new Axel Rudi Pell album than being a simple compilation of known stuff. Production is top notch, and as always Johnny Gioeli shine at the mic.
01. Love's Holding On (new song feat. Bonnie Tyler)
02. I See Fire (new song, Ed Sheeran cover)
03. On The Edge Of Our Time (new song)
04. Hey Hey My My
05. Lived Our Lives Before
06. When Truth Hurts
07. Forever Free
08. Lost In Love
09. The Line (live) (previously unreleased)
10. Mistreated (live)
11. Love's Holding On (Radio Edit) [Bonus Track]
Johnny Gioeli – Lead and Backing Vocals
Axel Rudi Pell – All Guitars
Ferdy Doernberg – Keyboards
Volker Krawczak – Bass
Bobby Rondinelli – Drums