Axel Rudi Pell
Kings & Queens
· Produced By: Axel Rudi Pell

· Running Time: 56.40

· Release Date: March 1

· Released: EU

· Musical Style: European Hard Rock

· Links: ARP
Songs: 90%
Sound: 94%
Axel Rudi Pell doesn't vary the blueprint for his albums very much, but he does consistently record and release great albums, pleasing dedicated fans each time with more of his own brand of European hard rock.
The band line-up for Kings & Queens is exactly as has been for the last couple of studio albums, which means Hardline vocalist Johnny Gioeli is back for his forth studio album.
The formula for the last few albums has been an intro plus 9 tracks, including a couple of power rock ballads, a speed demon or two and a couple of extended epics with a few straight ahead hard rockers filling the gaps.
Kings & Queens holds true to this formula, and again it provides a great listen and is highly enjoyable as always.
Flyin´ High really shreds for the opening track, with Cold Heaven, Strong As A Rock and Only The Strong Will Survive providing the straight ahead and uncompromising hard rock portion of the album, with plenty of great riffs and some power house vocals from Gioeli.
Forever Angel is a great heartfelt power ballad as is the epic Sea Of Evil, which clocks in over 8 minutes.
Legions Of Hell is the album's other epic, a great dark and moody rocker running nearly 9 minutes.
What's most enjoyable about Kings & Queens is Axel's guitar sound. He's changed the tone just a little over the style of the last few albums - harder edged than ever, with an even more commercial hard rock style.
The Bottom Line
More great music from Axel - with the ever reliable Johnny Gioeli providing the backbone of the album. Nothing that deviates from previous albums, which means fans will get another dose of high energy guitar driven European hard rock. Powerfully produced and well mixed, the album sounds great and fans will know exactly what to expect.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Wild Obsession
· Nasty Reputation
· Eternal Prisoner
· Ballads
· Between The Walls
· Made In Germany
· Black Moon Pyramid
· Magic
· Oceans Of Time
· Ballads 2
· The Masquerade Ball
· Shadow Zone
· Knights Live
· Kings & Queens

Line Up
· Johnny Gioeli: Vocals
· Axel Rudi Pell: Guitar
· Ferdy Doernberg: Keyboards
· Mike Terrana: Drums
· Volker Krawczak: Bass

Essential for fans of:
· Hardline
· Axel Rudi Pell
Track Listing
· The Gate (Intro)
· Flyin´ High
· Cold Heaven*
· Strong As A Rock*
· Forever Angel*
· Legions Of Hell*
· Only The Strong Will Survive
· Sailing Away
· Take The Crown
· Sea Of Evil*
--*Best Tracks

20/05/04: Nicodim -
Rating: 70
Great album as usually, but absolutely nothin' new on this record. It's better to rename tha band to Running Wild or smth. Same ol' lyrics, same ol' riffs. Different (slightly) guitar sound? It's not so obvious for an ordinary listener, a fan... I bet, they don't even feel it themselves. That's the only newer thing on this album. Yes, it's still great. And if U haven't ARP's previous albums, U can say it's the best record ever in the history of a genre. But all of the albums with Gioeli R as similar to each other as twins. U can listen to the each of the albums and say: "Yeah, what a record! Awesome!" And then U try to listen another one right after the first one: "What a shit! I just heard it all!" Listening to the third one U already have no other language but the foul-language... But, don't forget - there's a fourth one! R.I.P. true Axel Rudi Pell's fan... :-)))

P.S. - IMO, ARP at his best was with tha 1 and tha only JSS. From album 2 album there was something new in the style, in the sound and all that. JSS isn't only a GREAT singer. He also writes awesome lyrics and melodies. So. now we can see what is ARP without JSS - one simple melodi throughout the whole album (oh, sorry, throughout the 4 albums). I already tired of readin': lyrics & music by ARP on every track. Wonder Y does Ferdi (an AWESOME, FANTASTIC composer!!) do nothin' for the project?

18/05/04: ROCKERFAN -
Rating: 75
as all his album he delivers great metal tunes....but that's all...quite good songs as always BUT HE IS A SO CRAP GUITARIST that he ruins least he knows how to write some metal stuff!!!if yngwie or any other GREAT guitar player would have played onstead axel this could be a 100

07/04/04: John DeWald -
Rating: 96
I had to make myself wait until I completely finished hearing before writing this. I think this is perhaps Axel's best studio recording. Gioeli really is singing incredibly well. As Andrew mentioned, Axel's guitar sounds is different. Perhaps it's due to the new Peavey amp he's using, but his tone is smoother and not as thin. On top of that, his vibrato is smoother and more mature. A terrific performance by everyone in the band. As for the songs, a lot of mid- and up-tempo tunes with only one true ballad, "Forever Angel", which is a great tune, too. I think my favorite tune is "Cold Heaven" which for some reason reminds me of Rainbow's "Down to Earth" album. As for those who say this disc is "nothing new", that's true in a sense - Axel hasn't gone nu-metal or "modern" rock on us. And that's fine with me because it's obvious that Axel loves what he does and he's darn good at it. After all, does anyone rag on B.B. King for constantly making blues records? Overall, it's the songs and the performances that matter and Axel and the boys have really delivered with "Kings and Queens". Highly recommended disc!

31/03/04: Mark -
Rating: 85
Great stuff from this consistent artist - he always does what it says on the tin and this effort is no exception; great guitar throughout and some absolutely amazing vocals from Johnny. One thing that stikes me about this album is that there are some really good melodies going on and the consistency throughout the entire album is something to admire. "Forever Angel" will I am sure be a favorite with listeners for quite some time as Axel's guitar soars quite brilliantly with Johnny providing some incredible turbo-charged vocals and the awesome "Flying High" really kicking the album off to a good start. A must for lovers of hard european rock and guitarists everywhere - listen and learn.

28/03/04: Alec -
Rating: 85
Decent Stuff but hardly anything new for Axel

27/03/04: Todd -
Rating: 85
I have been waiting for this release for two years and after hearing from Axel that it was going to be some of the best songs he's ever written, I was thinking 2 thoughts.
1) This cd is going to rock major ass or 2) This is going to be one of his worst releases.Luckily it was the former.Without a doubt KINGS AND QUEENS is Axel's strongest and most consistant cd to date.Opening with the usual intro track "THE GATE",
it then kicks into the super fast "FLYIN HIGH'.Next up is the double hard rock attack of "COLD HEAVEN" and "STRONG AS A ROCK".The first ballad "FOREVER ANGEL" slows the pace down a bit before leading into the epic 8 minute plus "LEGIONS OF HELL"."ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE" kicks back into rock mode, before the pace slows again with "SAILING AWAY",(which is probably the worst track).The next song "TAKE THE CROWN"
(which more than makes up for it) is European hard rock heaven, and in my opinion one of Axel's top 10 songs
he's ever written.Johnny's vocals on this are nothing short of amazing!!!! "Sea Of Evil", the second ballad rounds
out the cd.
In all honesty this would be Axel's best cd so far soley because of the great consistancy of songs.The cd flows
brilliantly something that I think his last couple of albums have not done.Johnny sounds his usual brilliant self,
and really takes the songs to a new level.The rhythm section as always is tight, and Axel's guitar sound is once
again very impressive.It sounds even more crunchier than on Shadowzone which gives the album an overall
arena rock sound.Possibly the best release to come out of Europe this year.I wish these guy's would tour

17/03/04: Marcus -
Rating: 90
This album is really good. I think it stands on it's own and can't be compared to "Shadow Zone" or any other of Axel's albums, it's that good. What is great with this album is that the formula is well known, there are no nasty surprises. There seems to be a hint of old Scorpions in some of the riffs, which is great! Of course, Johnny G's vocals are better than ever. Check out "Forever Angel", that song sends chills down my spine! Listen to the voice of Johnny, it's heartfelt, so clear and can't be denied as one of the best voices in rock today.
The only small complaint is the second half of the album with some rather slow, dragging songs that could use some "flare" in the chorus sections. No show-stoppers though.

Come see Axel and the gang at this year's Sweden Rock Festival, I know I will!

07/03/04: Hysteria -
Rating: 8
Typical Axel, nothing new but a great album.

07/03/04: Ole Bach -
Rating: 95
Again Alex has done a fantastic album, i cant get enough of this fine guitarist.O.B.

04/03/04: freddy de keyzer -
Rating: 88
On par with the new TNT and with the new Pink Cream 69 !! So you know what to expect : great melodic hardrock and with the voice of Johnny we all know you can't go wrong.
It's for years now that Axel delivers quality albums ! High time he and his mates get the recognitian they so richely deserve !
Great songs, great singing, great playing (Axel is a top guitarist !) and a GREAT ALBUM !!!!!

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