Redundant road trip through familiar territories - A review of Axel Rudi Pell's ''Game of Sins''
Two years after the surprisingly energetic and energizing ''Into the Storm'', the German heavy and power metal quintet with one of the least inspired band names ever comes around with a solid yet too predictable follow-up entitled ''Game of Sins''. While the predecessor had a few outstanding tunes, the band offers eleven homogeneous mid-tempo stompers on the thin line between traditional heavy and power metal. Despite an emotional performance by singer Johnny Gioeli, the other four musicians limit themselves to solid yet unspectacular routine jobs. Many tracks don't only remind of multiple songs from the past but are even similar to several other tunes from the very same album. These tracks are not bad but they end up sounding redundant after a running time of far over one hour.
There are still a few tracks in the middle section that are worth some extra spins. ''Falling Star'' is the record's most enthusiastic and powerful track and convinces with imaginative lyrics and a soulfoul vocal performance. The guitar solo could have been a little bit more passionate to rate this song up. ''Lost in Love'' is an epic and touching half-ballad with soaring melodies and heartbroken vocals that tell us about a fatal relationship most people can identify with. This song would have been even more impressive if real string instruments had been used in the introduction instead of the artificially flavoured keyboard layers. ''The King of Fools'' is the album's catchiest track thanks to another powerful vocal performance and a catchy chorus. The rest of the track could have been more original once again and the down-tuned main riff sounds somehow unclean. An honorable mention goes out to the bonus track ''All Along the Watchtower' which is a cover song by Bob Dylan. The track might not reach the quality of the original and isn't as intense as the cover of Neil Young's ''Hey Hey My My'' on the last output, but it's a solid version that includes some of the best guitar soloing on the entire record.
In the end, ''Game of Sins'' is an entirely enjoyable mixture of heavy and power metal that works very well as background music for a lazy spring night with a couple of friends or a relaxed early summer road trip through the nature. If you take a closer look, you will realize that the record includes a lot of predictable repetition, that the rhythm section is mostly unspectacular and that even guitar and keyboard melodies don't add anything new to the band sound. The longer tracks on this album include some noticeable lengths and especially ''Till the World Says Goodbye'' has a quite redundant instrumental part and would have worked much better if it had been cut down to five minutes or less. This record is saved by a more focused middle section and an underrated vocalist who always gives his very best. His voice finds the right mixture between hoarse and raw power and melodic and uplifting emotionalism. Fans of the band and traditional heavy and power metal fans of the eighties can give this release a few spins while anyone else should stick to the more diversified, emotional and focused predecessor ''Into the Storm''.
Final verdict: 7/10« AdvertisementsWilliam Black needs a nasal spray - A review of Blaze Bayley's ''Infinite Entanglement'' »
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