Type: CD Company: SPV/Steamhammer Release: 2004 Genre: Hard Rock Reviewer: Vinaya Saksena Published: 5/15/2005
Quality and consistency of material is simply not sufficient
Axel Rudi Pell - The Ballads III - 2004 - SPV
1. Don't Say Goodbye 2. Forever Angel 3. Temple Of The King, The 4. Heartbreaker 5. Line, The 6. Son Of Evil 7. Curse Of The Chains, The 8. All The Rest Of My Life 9. Forever Angel 10. Temple Of The Holy, The 11. Under The Gun
The title says it all, doesn’t it? Honestly, I don’t know what can possess a record company exec or (Heaven forbid) an artist to do this sort of thing. Take an esteemed hard rock/metal artist, and mush up the credibility of his or her catalog by releasing not one, but two collections of ballads, culled from records made over the course of little more than a decade. And then, to drive the pointless point home further, trivialize even the work represented on those two comps with an unfathomable third disc of the artist’s fluffiest moments. And sure enough, this disc seldom rises above that level of fluffdom. Here’s the rundown: We kick off with three “new” tracks, which actually include only one truly new composition, in the truly mediocre “Don’t Say Goodbye.” The other two are an acoustic version of “Forever Angel” (pointless!) and a surprisingly uninspired saunter through Rainbow’s “Temple Of The King.” From there on, the painful and tiresome trudge towards an irreversible state of comatose sleep continues unabated, before one has to make the choice to either turn the damn thing off, or find a ready supply of antidepressants.
Okay, so maybe I’m being a bit cruel here. Axel Rudi Pell is certainly a fine guitarist, and his backing band has no shortage of talent. My objection is not due to the quality of the band’s work. My objection stems from the very dull and unnecessary nature of a ballad collection, particularly since I happen to be of the opinion that ballads are simply not Axel’s strong point. I am not categorically rejecting the idea of a ballads compilation for any artist, but when you try to market such a release by an artist who has made his or her name playing the hard stuff, you better have some damn beautiful and inspired tuneage on there, and therein lies the problem with this release. There is some decent Bic-waving fodder here, no doubt, but the quality and consistency of material is simply not sufficient to warrant a full-on ballads compilation…. let alone three of ‘em!
About this Writer: Vinaya Saksena // Vinaya is either a writer who dabbles in guitar playing, or a guitar player who dabbles in writing. A Maximum Metal staffer since 2004, he has also served as a reporter for several newspapers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Although his obsession with music is such that it does not allow time for much else by way of hobbies, he also enjoys traveling, trivia, photography, British comedy and the occasional A-Team re-run.
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