Axel Rudi Pell
The Ballads IV

1. Where The Wild Waters Flow
2. Holy Diver
3. Hallelujah
4. Northern Lights
5. Noblesse Oblige (Opus #5 Adagio Contabile)
6. Love Gun
7. Glory Night
8. In The Air Tonight
9. Touching My Sou
10. Like A Child Again
11. No Chance To Live
12. Haunted Castle Serenade (Opus #4 Grazioso E Agresso)
13. The Curse Of The Damned

Axel Rudi Pell (guitar)
Johnny Gioeli (lead vocals)
Mike Terrana (drums)
Ferdy Doernberg (keyboards)
Volker Krawczak (bass)

Wild Obsession (1989)
Nasty Reputation (1991)
Eternal Prisoner (1992)
Between the Walls (1994)
Black Moon Pyramid (1996)
Magic (1997)
Oceans of Time (1998)
The Masquerade Ball (2000)
Shadow Zone (2002)
Kings and Queens (2004)
Mystica (2006)
Diamonds Unlocked (2007)
Tales of the Crown (2008)
The Crest (2010)

The Ballads (1993)
The Ballads II (1999)
The Wizard's Chosen Few (2000)
The Ballads III (2004)
The Best of Axel Rudi Pell: Anniversary Edition (2009)


Produced and Arranged by Axel Rudi Pell.
“Where The Wild Waters Flow”, “Holy Diver” and “Hallelujah” were Recorded, Mixed and Co-Produced by Charlie Bauerfeind at Twilight Hall Studios, Grefrath, Germany, in May 2011.
Childrenīs Choir on “Hallelujah” recorded at the Widar School, Bochum – Wattenscheid, conducted by Dietmar Bloch.
Mastered by Ulf Horbelt at DMS Mastering Studios. Marl, Germany.
Cover Illustration by Martin McKenna.

Released 26/9-2011
Reviewed 4/10-2011



Axel Rudi pell has been a professional guitarist since the 80's and now past 50 years old is when he and his band - called Axel Rudi Pell - releases an album solely with ballads. And this is, as the title may suggest - the fourth time he and his band does so. This time they've collected 13 songs and most of them we've heard before, but there are also a couple of "new" ones. i say "new" instead of new since they're covers, and they're called Halleluja and Holy Diver, the classic metal hymn by great late Ronnie Dio - here in the form of a ballad. But then there's also one completely new song, newly written by Rudi himself and it's called Where the Wld Waters Flow. Except of these three newly recorded songs, there's a collection of ten from past albums. These are Noblesse Oblige and Glory Night from 'The Crest' (2010), Northern Lights and Touching My Soul from 'Tales Of The Crown' (2008), Love Gun, In The Air and Like A Child from 'Diamonds Unlocked' (2007, originally made by Kiss, Phil Collins and The Mission respectively) as well as No Chance To Live, Haunted Castle Serenade and The Curse Of The Damned from 'Mystica' (2006). Five years collecting songs, resulting in two new covers, three old covers, one new own and seven old own songs.

Some of you know that I very often utter the words "long" and "too" in the same sentence with albums I review. And now, I will do it again - just look: This album is too long! And before you let the hate storm hail around me, just let me explain why I think so. I know this is a compilation album and that such kind of albums very often tend to be long compared to newly recorded studio albums, but in my opinion most compilation albums are too long as well, even though I totally get the concept of getting as much as possible on the album but on a collection of only slooooooow, weeeeaaaryyyy and laaaazzyyyyyy ballads… it tends to get… very long, especially when the running time exeeds the hour. Which it does on this ballad collection. But saying the album is too long doesn't actually say anything about the quality of the songs and album, only that it's not strong enough to maintain the interest throughout the album. So, let's say the album would be a fortnight long - I can't imagine any band in the world could maintain an interest for that long on an album. So, in order to put this album's length in context - how long exactly is this album? It's 75 minutes and 42 seconds. And that, my friends, IS too long!

We've already confirmed the tempo on the album - slow ballads that are pretty much like strosing compared to running and perfect for relaxation or… whenever you elsewhere might need to play ballads. Like the last hour on high school proms when you're slow-dancing. Or something. Anyway, the music is played with lots of guitars in focus which are screaming solo guitars, lead guitars showing off, power ballad heavy rhythm guitars and so on. And lots of drumming, which is something of a surprise. But I have quite a hard time to see why they have this much heavy drums on a ballad collection, but either way - here they are. The vocals are good though. Just hoarse enough not to annoy you and low key enough to keep it emotional. Not technically fantastic all the time, but it works well with the music. The piano seems to have replaced the bass on almost every song, not only in the opuses Noblesse oblige and Haunted Castle Serenade but also the Mission cover Like A Child Again and the Dio cover Holy Diver. To mention a few. Overall though, this album is very good. Songs are played and sung really well and the album as a whole with the production and concept and all that it feels ready for us in all ways. It's just that little bug with the length.

After six songs, this album has reached the half hour mark. After seven, where just above. But despite the fact that we by then has heard more than half of the songs, we're still 41 minutes short of the total running time. And honestly, I can sit down and play all these songs in a straight row from start to finish without thinking it's bad or particularly annoying. But I really don't want to do that and play an hour and almost sixteen minutes with ONLY ballads. It's tiresome. In my opinion, an album with only ballads should reach a maximum of about 45 minutes or something around that. But the truth is that all these ballad albums by the Pells have just become longer… and longer… and longer. And now we've rreached this album which probably is the longest running album in all time. Longer than the entire Russia! And just to put it in perspective. The first ballad album by the ARPs was 46 minutes long. The second, an hour and nine minutes. The third, like half a minute longer. And this, another six minutes longer. And that's too long three times in a row!

Except for the lenght, I have no major issues with this album. But the length in itself reduced the score with at least one point. And the other lost point wouldn't have been there regardless of how long this album would be because even if it had been half an hour shorter, I still wouldn't have awarded it with a seventh. It's good but not THAT hood. But for the ballad lover that have lots of time left for enjoying power ballads - this really is an album made for you!


Label: SPV/Playground
Three similar bands: Blackmore's Night/Dio/Rainbow
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Recensent: Caj Källmalm

Read in english