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This is the 2009 best of compilation of the ex-Steeler guitarist, Axel Rudi Pell and my first record of the band. Songs are quite catchy, in some instances more hard rock-like than being an actual power metal. Singer Johnny Gioeli has some great pipes and most importantly, he can "showoff" in the live performances, as he's proving on and on.
Songs revolve around myths, stories, tales, life and all the typical connotations. The introduction song, "Edge Of The World" is a great opener to the the band's melodic hard rock/power metal style, powerful and iconic riffs of Axel Rudi Pell and very good vocals by already mentioned, Johnny Gioeli, Jeff Scott Soto' replacement. Masquerade Ball is a great epic track that's proven his pipes in action as "Carousel" had introduced completely, the song-arranging and trademark riff style of Axel Pell. There are also several good ballads in the selection, like the notable "Oceans Of Time" or acoustically performed "Forever Angel" finally closing this compilation with very ambitiously done cover of Phil Collins' "In the air tonight". Keyboards are also being used in just the right, peak moments where the emotional moods created are freely uplifting the whole band to another level.
Drumming is handled by the master-drummer Mike Terrana (ex-Malmsteen,ex-Masterplan etc. you can go on and on with this guy's history) whose grooving and firing of hundreds of kicks and combos on the drums and cymbals not to mention rapid precise double bass kicking, making the drums want upgrade themselves for his own performances on and on.
Thanks to Axel's trademark songwriting and his riffs, this is exactly the right atmospheric, moody type of musical expression varying between rock and power metal with the legitimate element of "catchiness", positive dose of simplicity and magnetism that as I've said almost guarantees a new fan, after the first "encounter".
I have a complaint on the structurally not that well done and sorted arrangements, making some songs seemingly repetitive and overblown in their duration and primarily not that rich lead guitar solo work, proportional to the actually very good songwriting. Examples are the songs like "Carousel", "Edge Of The World", "Oceans Of Time" but all in all the song selection for this compilation is very good as an introduction to a first time listener as also to a greedy collector.