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AXEL RUDI PELL “Risen Symbol” Album Review by Antoine Karam


I’ve been a devotee of AXEL RUDI PELL since the early days, tracing my fandom back to his 1989 debut. While’s tough to choose a favorite, “Nasty Reputation” holds a special place in my heart. Now, with the release “Risen Symbol“, Pell and his crew, including Johnny Gioeli, Bobby Rondinelli, Ferdy Doernberg, and Volker Krawczak, present an album that seeks to blend the familiar with a dash of exploration.

From the get-go, “Risen Symbol” kicks off with The Resurrection, a segway that immediately immerses listeners in Pell‘s world of intricate guitar work. Forever Strong follows suit, a robust offering that marries velocity and melody in a manner only Pell can. The inclusion of Guardian Angel early on sets a tone of anthem-like rockers, interspersed with melodic ballads like Crying in Pain that showcase Gioeli‘s versatile vocal prowess.

The choice to cover Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song stands out as a bold move. It’s an ambitious endeavor that pays homage while infusing Pell‘s unmistakable flair. However, its placement within the album may stimulate debate among purists on whether it disrupts the flow of original content.

An undeniable highlight is Ankhaia, an epic that travels through musical landscapes with an ease that speaks to the band’s synergy and mastery over their craft. The song is a voyage, with Doernberg‘s keyboard work providing a lush backdrop to Pell‘s guitar solos, elevating the track to a standout status.

However, “Risen Symbol” isn’t without its moments of predictability. Tracks like Hells on Fire and Right on Track deliver the signature ARP sound but do so within a framework that feels overly familiar to long-time listeners. This isn’t entirely a drawback; there’s comfort in the familiar, yet one can’t help but crave a few more risks or surprises from an artist as skilled as Pell.

What “Risen Symbol” lacks in groundbreaking innovation, it compensates with sheer musicianship and the undeniable chemistry among its band members. It’s a solid addition to AXEL RUDI PELL‘s expansive discography, maintaining the core elements that fans love, while dabbling just enough in new waters to keep things interesting.

Rating this album presents a challenge. On technical skill alone, it’s exceptional. However, taking into account the desire for a fresher sound or more adventurous ventures, I find myself landing at a 8.5 out of 10. “Risen Symbol” is by no means a mere echo of Pell‘s previous works but rather a confirmation of his steadfast presence in the genre. It may tread familiar territory, but it does so with the confidence of a veteran musician who knows his audience well.

Order your copy HERE


Risen Symbol Track List:
1. The Resurrection (Intro)
2. Forever Strong
3. Guardian Angel
4. Immigrant Song
5. Darkest Hour
6. Ankhaia
7. Hell’s On Fire
8. Crying In Pain
9. Right On Track
10. Taken By Storm

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


19.07. DE-Augsburg – Spectrum
06.10. DE-Bochum – Zeche
08.10. DE-Munich – Backstage Werk
09.10. CH-Zurich – Komplex
10.10. DE-Radolfzell – Milchwerk
11.10. DE-Markneukirchen – Musikhalle
13.10. AT-Vienna – Szene
14.10. HU-Budapest – Barba Negra
16.10. DE-Saarbrücken – Garage
18.10. DE-Geiselwind – Eventcenter
19.10. DE-Osnabrück – Hydepark
20.10. DE-Langen – Stadthalle
21.10. DE-Berlin – Huxleys
22.10. DE-Hamburg – Fabrik
24.10. SE-Stockholm – Klubben
25.10. SE-Gothenborg – Brewhouse
26.10. SE-Malmö – Slagthuset 
28.10. DE-Bochum – Zeche


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