Underrated #11: Axel Rudi Pell

First Watch This:

*It’s all they had, and besides, Axel hates his material being posted on YouTube, and I see why*

But first things first. Axel Rudi Pell is named after its founder, Axel Rudi Pell. He’s from Germany (thus they are a German band), but the songs are all in English. Personally, I think these guys are as good (if not better) as Rammstein, but the fact of the mater is, they are severely underrated, mainly here in the west.

Here’s the Line-up:

Axel Rudi Pell – guitar (1989–present)
Johnny Gioeli – lead vocals (1997–present)
Mike Terrana – drums (1998–present)
Ferdy Doernberg – keyboards (1997–present)
Volker Krawczak – bass (1989–present)

This band is nothing short of amazing. They’re mainly heavy metal, following the melodic styles of bands like Dio, Iron Maiden, and Rainbow (etc). A lot of the lyrics are slightly fantasy-inspired on occasion (save the first two albums), but the songwriting skills are nothing short of amazing. They can take a cover song and make it legendary (Beautiful Day by U2, In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins, Holy Diver by Dio, etc) Axel has some incredible playing skills, too good to be ignored or overlooked,and Mike Terrana (the current drummer, and my personal favorite), is a Jon Bonham or Cozy Powell, simply incredible to watch:

My personal favorite singer is also in this band, the legendary Johnny Gioeli (who I mentioned in my Crush 40 post, SEVERELY UNDERRATED; even his Wikipedia page says so). Johnny has a high and wide range of vocal ability, able to out-sing most of today’s incompetent mainstream acts, and is an admirable front man like Bon Scott or Paul Stanley. Before him, there was Jeff Scott Soto (Journey, Tailsman, etc) who left 1997, also an amazing singer as well. Ferdy Doernberg is on keyboard, and he inspired me to play (along with Freddie Mercury, Alicia Keys, and Jonathan Cain). But he doesn’t always play acoustic. He uses an effect that makes his keyboard sound like a female medieval choir or a Hollywood string section. Sure, I’m usually against people using special effects, but Ferdy actually can play keyboard and it’s not computer generated. You have to hear their songs to understand. Volker Krawczak is a veteran of the band on bass, and thank god he doesn’t play those one string sets like those crappy bassists who hide in their bands.

These five guys are awesome… So awesome that most people haven’t heard about them.

Heavy Metal fans are the most dedicated of all, BUT Axel Rudi Pell sort of makes one costly mistake: Most of his fame is in Europe. I’ve yet to see his band hit American shores. But even over here, Johnny’s own bands (Hardline, Crush 40) are heavily unknown. But fortunately, there’s hope:

The song “Run With The Wind” from the 2012 album Circle of the Oath won Swedish Gold award. 10,000 copies. The band finally has something to show for it, but the philosophy remains true: If America hasn’t heard of you, you’re nobody. But hopefully this is the first if many victories.

Oh well, at least they dominate at Wacken Open Air (the crowds aren’t very dynamic until they show up).


BUT… Circle of The Oath is an incredible album, it’s basically the ultimate perfection of every Axel’s done since 1989. Very brilliant, melody wise AND lyrically. Axl Rosenberg might diss the album on Metal Sucks, but it’s a HUGE step from The Crest (2010) and The Ballads IV (2011). Nothing rushed, everything perfect. And for someone who’s heard (and almost owns) the ENTIRE discography, I must say that Azel Rudi Pell (both guitarist AND band) never fail to impress.


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