Axel Rudi Pell, the distinguished German heavy metal guitarist, has released …seventeen studio albums until now! Yes, “Sign of the Times” is the eighteenth studio release of Pell, who last year celebrated his 30th anniversary as a solo musician! According to the press release, Pell and his label are very happy for the “Sign of the Times” album. Well, how can they not be happy with such a good album! Pell continues to please us, since this new album flows in the typical and beloved style of the German guitarist, containing some strong melodies. So, here you will listen again to Pell’s favorite music – classic heavy metal, guitar-driven and melodic, in the vein of Deep Purple, Rainbow, Scorpions etc., as it was first played in the late 80s. We all know what the German musician likes to play and that’s what we get. In “Sign of the Times” Pell is on fire and shoots with riffs, solos and in general, with a majestic guitar work. He has come with some great tunes, like “Gunfire”, “Bad Reputation”, “Wings of the Storm” and “As Blind As a Fool Can Be”. On the other hand, Pell doesn’t stop to surprise us – musically, because the songs are now shorter in duration, without over-the-top guitar solos, and lyrically, because the new songs don’t talk about kings and knights, but have social/political references. Yet, Pell take us by surprise with the … reggae style of “Living In a Dream”! After all these descriptions, what should the melodic metal fan do? Trust Pell and give a chance to “Sign of the Times”? Or just let it go? Surely, Pell’s fans will be excited with his new album. But also, melodic heavy metal fans will find here a nice sanctuary. It’s melodic, it’s fresh, and it’s well performed. I think that they will be satisfied too!

♦ 7.5/10

Dimitris Zacharopoulos