Axel Rudi Pell - Knights Live
Steamhammer
Melodic Hard Rock
Disc 1: 6 songs (57'15) Disc 2: 5 songs (52'42)
Release year: 2002
Axel Rudi Pell, Steamhammer
Reviewed by Ben

Here's Axel Rudi Pell's new two cd live album and I must say I am pleasantly surprised. Let's face it his first live album wasn't anything to write home about and Shadow Zone lacked the fire and passion that The Masquerade Ball had. Knights Live is a much more energized and coherent offering than Live Made in Germany and Shadow Zone. The production is crystal clear and sounds better than his studio albums, Johnny Giolis voice is in top form and the performance is powerful. Despite all these improvements there are still some drawbacks that I'll get to later.

The concert starts off with a high octane version of Edge of the World and with the added double bass this song sounds so much richer, it kills the studio version which I thought sounded a little mundane. The band is bristling with energy and I wish I had the DVD as well to see how they are moving cos from the way the audio sounds it seems like they'd be all over the stage going a hundred miles an hour. Nasty Reputation is next and Johnny's interpretation of this song makes me forget the mighty Rob Rock was ever in the band. They then rip though Tear Down the Walls next and the energy level is still very high. Next up is a damn medley. I hate medleys, I cant stand them, I dont know why the hell some artists play em. (Dream Theater, W.A.S.P., and Mr. Pell) Usually medleys are drawn out and boring and they take some good songs and butcher em by cutting them short and you get pissed because dammit YOU WANTED TO HEAR THE WHOLE SONG BUT YOU DONT COS ITS JUST A MEDLEY!!! This medley here starts off with The Masquerade Ball and I'm going "Yea hey this is pretty good its not too bad", and it flows seamlessly into Casbah and I'm thinking "Hey this is pretty good in fact I actually *gasp* like this medley". Johnny Giolis joking during some crowd interaction in Casbah made me laugh out loud as well, this guy is hilarious, but then sonofabitch a DRUM SOLO! A long one at that. Yes Mike Terrana is a good drummer but god I cannot stand extended drum / bass or even guitar solos and I'm glad when its finally over.

The band then tears through faithful renditions of Follow the Sign, Fool Fool, and Carousel. I guess Axel got the jamming out of his system for a bit cos these songs are surprisingly NOT extended, rather they are just well executed live versions. The Clown is Dead follows and is a very emotional ballad that is driven by Johnnys voice and Ferdy's piano playing with a lengthy beautiful solo that rounds out the song. Two of my favorite Axel Rudi Pell songs are next, Call Her Princess and Snake Eyes. Both are even better than the studio versions found on Wild Obsession, they're just so much heavier and sleazier they just kick ass to put it simply. Both however suffer from the "jam syndrome" and the 3.30 and 4.00 minute songs are extended to over 10 minutes each. At least its not another drum solo though. The final encore track Warrior is last and ends this live album on a high note. A good fast rocker without being extended its a fitting song to end the concert with.

Even though this is a very entertaining show and Johnny is a funny as hell frontman the song selection leaves much to be desired. Axel tends to prolong his songs a little too much I mean if you take out the extended jam sessions and solos in the songs theres about 25-35 min that could have been used to play songs such as Voodoo Nights, Earls of Black, Pay the Price, Cold as Ice, and Firewall. Despite this glaring drawback, I can recommend Knights Live to every Axel Rudi Pell fan out there, the band is tight and precise and this is one of those live albums where you can tell they have the WHOLE show recorded and I prefer live albums like Knights to those that cut out all stage banter and all crowd interaction. If you were slightly dissapointed with Shadow Zone you will be delighted at how good Knights Live turned out to be.

Killing Songs :
Edge of the World, Nasty Reputation, Carousel, Call Her Princess
Ben quoted no quote
Other albums by Axel Rudi Pell that we have reviewed:
Axel Rudi Pell - The Crest reviewed by Marty and quoted 88 / 100
Axel Rudi Pell - Diamonds Unlocked reviewed by Mike and quoted no quote
Axel Rudi Pell - Mystica reviewed by Mike and quoted 80 / 100
Axel Rudi Pell - Kings And Queens reviewed by Danny and quoted 92 / 100
Axel Rudi Pell - Wild Obsession reviewed by Ben and quoted 83 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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