Reviews roundup – Axel Rudi Pell vs. ThinLine Sid vs. Darker Half vs. Breath After Coma

AXEL RUDI PELL Game Of SinsAXEL RUDI PELL
Game Of Sins
Steamhammer / SPV

You know where you are with an Axel Rudi Pell album.  And I’m not saying that in a bad way.  Because when Herr Pell is on form, his brand of melodic power metal is very good indeed.  And if you’ve been put off by the regular appearance of a ballads compilation, then get yourself in gear, because this is a cracker.

“Game of Sins” is his sixteenth studio album, and a worthy follow-up to the rather splendid “Into The Storm”.  If you’ve been wandering the internet, you may well have stumbled across the single ‘King of Fools’, and it’s a good signpost to what’s on offer here.

Hard, fast, melodic, powerful.  But enough about me.  They’re also applicable to just about every song here.  Amazingly enough, this is the third album this week that’s featured the fabulous drumming of (ex-Rainbow / Black Sabbath / Blue Oyster Cult)  Bobby Rondinelli, and the percussion is well to the fore on a great sounding release.  Johnny Gioelli is in great voice, and Axel fans will lap this up.  And if you’ve strayed from the fold, give this a chance.

As well as the regular CD, it’s also out as a digipak, with bonus track and poster, plus as a double gatefold, 180 gram black vinyl LP, with printed inner sleeves, + CD in a paper sleeve.

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THINLINE SID Soft MachineTHINLINE SID
Soft Machine
TLS

OK, I’ll fess up.  At first, I thought this was an oddly named Soft Machine album. One of those “rarities” things that keep popping up.  The cover should have been a clue, but I have my senior moments.

But actually the cover is misleading as well.  I’m thinking some kind of electro Cradle of Filth, but what I’ve got is some mainstream indie rock.  With a bit of an edge, to be sure, but mainstream nonetheless.

They’ve got some good grooves on the likes of ‘Cruise Missile’, the title track and my favourite, ‘Dead And Gone’, which has a lovely funky riff bubbling underneath the vocals.

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DARKER HALF Never SurrenderDARKER HALF
Never Surrender
Fastball

Off to Australia now for some modern metal. No, don’t run away, it’s better than that.  Mainly because it’s still rooted in the world of trad and thrash metal, but modern enough for the kiddies.

The guitar work is particularly good, with the riffs and solos peeling off like there’s no tomorrow.  Add in a singer who goes for the Bruce Dickinson style shrieks and  there is plenty here to enjoy.

Tunes like ‘Never Surrender’ and ‘Blinded By Darkness’ are enough to get any metalhead thrashing mad, and  even if they are not quite the finished article, there is enough here to suggest that they could be ready to start moving up the metal league table.

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Breath After ComaBREATH AFTER COMA
Breath After Coma
independent

We’re finishing up today with the debut EP from Greek alt-rockers, Breath After Coma.  Well, I say alt-rock, but anyone who has touches of Pearl Jam, Alter Bridge and the Foo Fighters is aiming straight down the barrel of the mainstream.

And they’ve definitely got promise, as the music and vocals are good, it’s well produced, and there are a couple of songs that have Kerrap! TV written all over them.  That would be ‘Everyday King’ and ‘Adoration’, either of which would get airplay with a half decent video.

Granted, it’s not my cup of tea, but then I’m an old man who grew up with the metal, but in the genre they’re working in, this is a fine example, and one that deserves a wider audience.

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