Axel Rudi Pell - LOST XXIII
Only genuine thoroughbred musicians with substantial creative talent succeed in staying at the top of their game as long as Axel Rudi Pell has. For more than thirty years, the guitarist and songwriter from Bochum, Germany, has released new albums at regular intervals with his ARP band. Reactions from fans and media alike have been consistently positive while impressive record sales, high chart positions and ever-increasing audience numbers at his concerts and tours say it all. From 15 April 2022, Pell’s latest studio offering LOST XXIII – his 21st to date – will be available as a digipak, CD, double vinyl album, strictly limited box set and for digital download, as usual on Steamhammer/SPV. To make the wait more bearable for his fans, the first lead single ‘Survive’ (including video clip) will be released on 18 February 2022. LOST XXIII is a very special album in Pell’s longstanding career, extremely varied, consisting of ten deeply melodic hard rock songs (plus intro) in typical ARP style, as well as a number of fast-paced highlights and surprising compositions. Among the focal points is the title track with its chorus featuring Arabic scales – as Pell explains “a longer, epic track that’s pretty characteristic of me”.
At the same time, LOST XXIII sees Pell welcome a number of familiar faces, underlining his consistency both on a musical and on a personal level: As on his previous four studio recordings INTO THE STORM (2014), GAME OF SINS (2016), KNIGHTS CALL (2018) and the highly acclaimed SIGN OF THE TIMES (2021), which made no. 5 of the German charts, plus the covers album DIAMONDS UNLOCKED II (2021) and two live releases, the ARP band mark 2022 continues to consist of singer Johnny Gioeli, bassist Volker Krawczak, keyboardist Ferdy Doernberg and drummer Bobby Rondinelli (ex-Rainbow), a perfectly oiled hard rock machine that never fails to deliver Pell’s compositions outstandingly and at the same time enhance them with each musician’s own trademarks. Even more enduring than his current line-up is Pell’s 33(!)-year collaboration with Steamhammer/SPV (in the 33rd year of his solo career!). A real exception in a profession characterised by discontinuity and short-lived trends.
Not least ARP’s countless fans benefit from this reliability: The ten songs (plus intro) on XXIII present the band in top form, with compositions that are among Pell’s strongest to date, be it a typical guitar riff number such as ‘No Compromise’, ‘Gone With The Wind’ which is based on a true story about a dog that waited in vain for a year on a train platform for its deceased master, the fast-paced ‘Follow The Beast’ with its NWOBHM references, or the ballad ‘Fly With Me’, which kicks off with an atmospheric piano part and goes on to create a haunting goosebumps atmosphere. Not forgetting the classy instrumental ‘The Rise Of Ankhoor’ (Pell: “The title is a play on words based on the terms ‘anchor’ and ‘encore’”) and the stylistically as well as lyrically exceptional ‘Down On The Streets’ (scheduled for release as the second lead single on 25 March 2022) and ‘Freight Train’. “Thin Lizzy and AC/DC could have had a finger in this particular pie,” Pell explains, tongue-in-cheek, adding: “Both songs are about life on the streets, about people who are homeless for various reasons and – in the case of ‘Freight Train’ – hop on trains in the manner of American hobos to travel across the country.” Last but not least: LOST XXIII ends with the instrumental bonus track ‘Quarantined 1’, which Pell had already recorded on his own at home in spring 2020 and presented to his fans on YouTube as a kind of “COVID support package”. Bobby Rondinelli has now contributed proper drums for the album version, turning the song into a “real” ARP track.
LOST XIII was produced by Axel Rudi Pell, mixed by Tommy Geiger, mastered by Ulf Horbelt, and the mysterious cover artwork was once again designed by Thomas Ewerhard (Gotthard, Edguy, Sons Of Apollo, among others). All that remains is to solve the little mystery of the album title. Pell explains: “XXIII is the Roman numeral for 23 and stands for W, the 23rd letter of the alphabet. Which in this case is an abbreviation of ‘world’, so you could also call the album ‘Lost World’, a reference to the currently pretty alarming state of our planet.” He and his exceptional band will answer any remaining questions live on tour in spring and autumn of this year.