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...entertaining covers set...
on 21 September 2007
The former Steeler axeman Axel Rudi Pell isn't unfamiliar with the concept of the cover version, as they've been popping up on his albums, virtually since he went solo. If memory serves ''When A Blind Man Cries' appeared on his second (?) solo album and assorted covers have made regular appearances ever since. So, 18 albums into his solo career, it's not a great surprise to see this appear.
What is surprising is the choice of songs. It's a brave man who applies his melodic power metal guitar to tunes by U2 and Phil Collins! But that's what you're going to get on "Diamonds Unlocked". After the album overture, however, Axel the First, sticks to his metal guns with a bash at the Riot classic 'Warrior'. But then it all goes a bit U2. Sepultura just got away with it, but there's no saving 'Beautiful Day'. Then it's on to a song I'd forgotten all about - 'Stone' - as recorded by the Paul Rogers / Kenney Jones band, The Law. It's an absolute stormer and inspired me to root about in the cupboard to dig out the original. Although, turns out it was actually written by Chris Rea! Remarkable.
Then it's back to the classics with a romp though 'Love Gun', a song so good it inspired the M4L nekkid disaster at Donington '96. Luckily I kept my pants on this time. Partly due to the stripped back, bleak approach to the song, but also because a Michael Bolton cover was just around the cover. But panic not, he may like to forget it about these days but Mr Bolotin as he was, once knew how to rawk. Amazing, but true. I'm old enough to remember it.
'Heartbreaker' by Free is next, but I'm afraid the band is ill suited to the blues, unlike their tactical assault on 'Rock The Nation'. As you should all know, the first Montrose album is one of the greatest rock albums ever, and although they never reach the orgasmic heights of the original, they give it a fair old going over. But then things go a bit pear shaped. Now I know that Axel and his ballads are very popular in Germany but surely even they would skip over 'In The Air Tonight'. I tried to get through it three times, but failed.
Then it's off into the really odd song choice as they take on one of goth meisters The Missions finer moments. Y'all probably don't recall that brief period when they went all power ballad on our asses, but 'Like A Child Again' was, and is, a stunning song, done justice here. The rawk then gets ramped up again as they take one of the all time classics - 'Won't Get Fooled Again'. I was worried about this, as it seemed like a recipe for disaster. I mean, it's The Who, man. But unlike some other fools (naming no names, Blackie), Axel and his band actually pull it off.
Kudos to Axel and singer Johnny Gioeli, bassist Volker Krawczak, keyboardist Ferdy Doernberg, and drummer Mike Terrana.
It's very hit and miss, as these projects always are, but in the main it's very entertaining, and if you like guitars (and if you don't WTF are you doing here), the Axel always does a turn.