AXEL RUDI PELL – New Studio Album SIGN OF THE TIMES out now

Illustrious German heavy metal / hard rock guitarist Axel Rudi Pell has lined up the release of his utterly excellent new studio album ‘Sign Of The Times’, on May 8th on Steamhammer / SPV as a digipak CD, jewel case CD, double 140 gram (red with black swirls) vinyl (with printed inner sleeves) LP, limited edition (1,000) Deluxe Boxset, containing limited digipak CD, double gatefold red transparent vinyl LP, A1 double-sided poster, photo card + sticker, plus download and stream.

Having worked with long-time co-producer and engineer Charlie Bauerfeind on his last nine studio albums, Axel opted instead to work with the engineer of his live “Magic Moments“ (2015) and “XXX Anniversary“ (2019) albums to put down ‘Sing Of The Times’, his 18th studio album, with stunning results. Axel reflects; “I knew from the start that Tommy Geiger was the right man for the job and he proved it. Everything worked out fine.”

Furthermore, both American musicians in the band – singer Johhny Gioeli and drummer Bobby Rondinelli – were on fire when they added their magic to the mix. Axel states that “First of all Johnny has outdone himself during the recordings; he certainly gave more than his usual 100 percent this time around. Because he has been performing a lot lately, he’s been singing live a lot. Secondly, we’ve never had a better drum sound with Bobby in the band and he is on his fourth album now, thanks to his new Snare drum called ‘Black Beauty’.”

‘Gunfire’ with its double bass assault, is indubitably Axel’s best opener of the last ten years or so, while mighty the 7 – minute – plus long epic title track (which was created in a pretty unusual way during a sound check on the last tour), is nothing other than a resounding sonic delight. The up-tempo track ‘The End Of The Line’ impresses with its long, undisputedly catchy chorus, whereas the ballad ‘As Blind As A Fool Can Be’ is as touching as ever.

But then the second half of the album sees Axel delivering some interesting surprises as he breaks with his own traditions several times. ‘Wings Of The Storm’ is a modern-day homage to the Coverdale/Hughes-led line-up of Deep Purple, but delivered in Jimi Hendrix style. The intense ‘Waiting For Your Call’ sees one of Gioeli’s best vocal performances, while the Reggae intro on ‘Living In A Dream’ left his other bandmates, Volker Krawzcak (bass) and Ferdy Doernberg (keyboards), in awe. ‘Into The Fire’ ends the album in the typical, well-known epic Pell way, but with less lengthy, more song-oriented, and much more melodic guitar solos; characteristic of the entire album.

Lyrically, Pell stayed away from his beloved mystical moments (kings, knights, wizards and the like) and went for more realistic subjects, in line with the album’s ‘Sign Of The Times’ title. “There are a few of the love/hate relationship songs, but most of the lyrics deal with the situation our planet is in right now, that’s why the clock on the cover shows two minutes AFTER midnight. We live in a very dangerous environment in terms of climate change, religious wars and public safety”.

Axel Rudi Pell’s most recent studio album, ‘Knight’s Call’, which crashed into Germany’s national top 10 album chart and the UK’s top 40 rock chart, was universally acclaimed on release in 2018. Classic Rock’s Rich Davenport rated ‘Knights Call’ 7/10, stating “Pell’s Stratocaster-on-steroids tone drives riffed-up rockers, adds weight to the balladry and anchors the epic ‘Tower Of Babylon’. Overlaid with Johnny Gioeli’s (Hardline) resonant vocal attack, underpinned by Bobby Rondinelli’s (Rainbow) propulsive drumming and generously adorned with Pell’s lyrical lead guitar playing, it’s an album that shows its roots but still sounds fresh.”

Powerplay’s Tony Pijar awarded ‘Knights Call’ 10/10, noting “Fast approaching forty years in the music business, Axel Rudi Pell continues to deliver at an astonishing level. Following in line with previous releases, we’ve got it all here: hard rocking, guitar-oriented tracks, powerful Zep/Purple/Rainbow epics, and those poignant ballads – all done with Pell’s warm and full Strat sound at the core. Whereas his last two releases, ‘Into The Storm’ and ‘Game Of Sins’ were good, but missing that intangible something to make each record extra-special, ‘Knights Call’ surpasses those releases in aces.”

Now ‘Sign Of The Times’, which outshines even its much lauded predecessor, is all set to be proclaimed a career-defining, landmark album, propelling Axel Rudi Pell ever higher into hard rock’s heady stratosphere.

01. The Black Serenade (Intro)  01:40
02. Gunfire  05:21
03. Bad Reputation  05:41
04. Sign Of The Times  07:10
05. The End Of The Line  05:22
06. As Blind As A Fool Can Be  06:14
07. Wings Of The Storm  05:48
08. Waiting For Your Call  05:34
09. Living In A Dream  05:59
10. Into The Fire  06:01

Line Up:
Johnny Gioeli – Lead and Backing Vocals
Axel Rudi Pell – Lead, Rhythm and Acoustic Guitars
Ferdy Doernberg – Keyboards
Volker Krawczak – Bass
Bobby Rondinelli – Drums

Promo image

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