Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Eternal Prisoner’ (1992) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

During 1991, Axel Rudi Pell wanted to go out and do some live shows for his most recent album, ‘Nasty Reputation’. There was only one problem. His lead singer, Rob Rock, left the band. That does cause a problem not having a singer. Axel started searching and one name was thrown out to him and that was Jeff Scott Soto. When Jeff found out that he could sing with a former guitar player from the band Steeler, he thought he was having de ja vu! Didn’t he just sing in a band with former Steeler guitar player…oh yeah…Yngwie Malmsteen. Soto couldn’t pass that up so he did it. He also couldn’t pass it up because his band, Slam, he was working with at the time hadn’t completely got off the ground so off he went.

After the tour, Jeff went on his way back to the Slam. That was until a short time later, Jeff got another call from Axel Rudi Pell. Axel was so impressed with Live Singer Jeff, why not have Jeff sing on his new album. Since Jeff really enjoyed working with Axel, why not and off he went. The result of that collaboration was the album ‘Eternal Prisoner’. Soto did more than just sing for Pell, he also co-wrote 6 of the 9 songs on the album. Along with Kai Raglewski on Keyboards, Volker Krawczak on Bass and Jorg Michael on Drums, the album was recorded at RA.SH Studio in Germany from June to September 1992. After a quick turnaround, the album saw the light of day on October 1, 1992.

We might be in the year 1992, but musically the music is still drenched in the 80’s rock and metal sound. If you like Black Sabbath, maybe some Deep Purple with a dash of Aerosmith and AC/DC there is going to be something on here you like. Axel is also a huge fan of Dio and Richie Blackmore and that influence is seeping from all corners of this album. Throw in the powerhouse vocals of Jeff Scott Soto and you have the making a damn fine album…but is it? That is what we are here to find out so turn it on, turn it up and I can’t think of of another turn it statement…oh well…on to the music.

Streets of Fire” comes blazing out of the gates in a total speed metal explosion. The barrage of drums, the rip-roaring riffs are a machine gun blast to the senses. Jeff’s vocals are so high and the lyrics are spit out so fast I am not sure how he catches a breath. It is frantic pace and has more screaming than singing but an energy that leaves you exhausted by the end, but in a good way. It definitely gets the blood a flowing.

The next track “Long Time” opens with Jeff screaming “Long Time” and then a sleazy and nasty Pell guitar riff and a short opening solo. This is more of an 80’s hard rock track and really sits in Soto’s wheelhouse. It is melodic, it is cheesy and it is fantastic. The guitar solo is not too flashy, but fits the song perfectly. A solid rocker that keeps the party moving.

The title track, “Eternal Prisoner”, is another rocker, but slowed down just a little, more dramatic and actually has a grander more serious feel. It is very Dio-esque full of rainbows and such (not a whole lot). Soto has a speaking verse that is done in a deeper register, almost whisper which leads in to a darker guitar solo. It is a pretty cool track and I like the variety so far on the album.

Then the variety keeps on coming as this time around we get the first ballad on the album called “Your Life (Not Close Enough to Paradise)”. This is a classic 80’s power ballad and it is an acoustic track so even more 80’s. It has the slow heartfelt vocals from soto, the powerful drums that heat up in the chorus and Axel’s guitar playing is subtle and effective. It can really pull at the heartstrings. Great track.

Back to the heavy with “Wheels Rolling On” and more 80’s rock sounding. I have to say this one is rather generic and fills more like filler. There is nothing new and exciting and honestly Soto is a little uninspiring on the lyrics. The first misstep on the album.

Thankfully they quickly make it up with the sleazefest of “Sweet Lil’ Suzie”. It starts off with some slick riffing by Pell that is a little dirty and funky. The drums and the bass come in then with barrage of drum fills and “ge ge ge ge” from Soto that reminds me of Steven Tyler and then the song kicks in to full gear. It is cock rock at its finest. There is a little tribal drumming from Jorg Michael that is really cool that turns in to a little drum solo which is completely unexpected and very welcome. Don’t fret though, there is a guitar solo at the end of the song and it is fantastic. All around blast of a track.

After such a rocking song, we go back in to a ballad but not any ballad. An instrumental ballad from Axel Rudi Pell called “Dreams of Passion”. You can feel his heart pouring out in the notes he is playing. It is heartfelt, passionate and emotional. Talk about feel, it is not about the notes or how fast he can play, it is about control, finesse and inspiration. You could sing along with it and that isn’t always easy to do for an instrumental. Beautifully well done.

Back to the rock with more sleaze and crazy-ass guitar work. This one is called “Shoot Her to the Moon”. The chorus on the this is catchy with a repetitive “Shoot Shoot Shoot”. Again more 80’s rock and done well…the only problem we are in 1992 and that is why this album went unnoticed in the U.S. It isn’t the best song on the album, but still worth a play.

Lastly, we get “Ride the Bullet” which is as cock rock as it comes. I think they even use the word erection. It is lyrically like Danger Danger but probably more Motley Crue in style or any band similar. I’m not sure if I like it or find it offensive…a little of both I guess. This song and “Shoot Her to the Moon” have one thing in common. It has a choir or what they call “Football Choir” which is Andreas Schowe, Martin Kernkorn, Michael Lorant, Oliver Recker and Thomas Erkelenz who all sing the chants in the choruses of both songs.

Track Listing:

  1. Streets of Fire – Keeper
  2. Long Time – Keeper
  3. Enternal Prisoner – Keeper
  4. Your Life (Not Close Enough to Paradise) – Keeper
  5. Wheels Rolling On – Delete
  6. Sweet Lil’ Suzie – Keeper
  7. Dreams of Passion – Keeper
  8. Shoot Her to the Moon – Keeper (1/2 Point)
  9. Ride the Bullet – Keeper (1/2 Point)

The Track Score is 7 out 9 Tracks or 78%.  I have to admit, I was unfamiliar with Axel Rudi Pell’s work so I didn’t know what to expect when I first tackled his Soto catalog and I have to say I was rather impressed.  Not with just Jeff, but Axel’s playing and how the songs were songs and not showcases of how great he is…which they are that, but more subtle.  His playing is understated and not over-the-top.  The song on the album while some metal, most were in the classic 80’s rock sound I grew up with and love so of course I liked a lot more than I didn’t on this thing.  Jeff Scott Soto sounded great as he could hang with the metal and bring it home on the more melodic hard rock songs.  This is another example of why I really like his singing.  If you have never checked out an Axel Rudi Pell album before, do yourself a favor and start with this one.  My Overall Score is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars as I can see myself pulling this one out again and again.

UP NEXT: BAKTERIA – ‘DEFICATE! SUFFOCATE! MUTILATE! MASTURBATE! (1992)

THE JEFF SCOTT SOTO SERIES:

  1. Panther – ‘Panther’ (1986) – recorded in 1984
  2. Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Rising Force’ (1984)
  3. Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Marching Out’ (1985)
  4. Kuni – ‘Lookin’ For Action’ (1988)
  5. Kryst the Conqueror – ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ (1989) / ‘Soldiers of Light: The Complete Recordings (2019)
  6. Eyes – ‘Eyes’ (1990)
  7. Eyes – “Nobody Said It Was Easy” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
  8. Talisman – ‘Talisman’ (1990)
  9. Talisman – “I’ll Be Waiting” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
  10. Skrapp Mettle – ‘Sensitive’ (1991)
  11. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Eternal Prisoner’ (1992)
  12. Bakteria – ‘Deficate! Suffocate! Mutilate! Masturbate!’ (1992 / 2009)
  13. Eyes – ‘Windows of the Soul’ (1993)
  14. Talisman – ‘Genesis’ (1993)
  15. Takara – ‘Eternal Faith’ (1993)
  16. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘The Ballads’ (1993)
  17. Biker Mice From Mars – ‘Biker Mice From Mars (Soundtrack)’ (1993)
  18. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Love Parade’ (1994)
  19. Gary Schutt – ‘Sentimetal’ (1994)
  20. Talisman – ‘Humanimal’ (1994)
  21. Talisman – ‘Five Out of Five (Live in Japan)’ (1994)
  22. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Between the Walls’ (1994)
  23. Talisman – ‘Life’ (1995)
  24. Takara – ‘Taste of Heaven’ (1995)
  25. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Made in Germany (Live)’ (1995)
  26. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Black Moon Pyramid’ (1996)
  27. Human Clay – ‘Human Clay’ (1996)
  28. Talisman – ‘Best of’ (1996)
  29. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Magic’ (1997)
  30. Human Clay – ‘U4IA’ (1997)
  31. Talisman – ‘Truth’ (1998)
  32. Takara – ‘Blind in Paradise’ (1998)
  33. Talisman – ‘Live as Sweden Rock Festival’ (2001)
  34. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Prism’ (2002)
  35. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Holding On E.P.’ (2002) – Bonus Edition
  36. Humanimal – ‘Humanimal’ (2002)
  37. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘JSS Live at the Gods 2002’ (2003)
  38. Talisman – ‘Cats & Dogs’ (2003)
  39. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Lost in the Translation’ (2004)
  40. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at the Queen Convention 2003’ (2004)
  41. Talisman – ‘Five Men Live’ (2005)
  42. Soul Sirkus – ‘World Play’ (2005)
  43. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Believe in Me E.P.’ (2006) – Bonus Edition
  44. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Essential Ballads’ (2006)
  45. Talisman – ‘7’ (2006)
  46. Journey – ‘Live from Atlanta (Bootleg)’ (2006)
  47. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘B-Sides’ (2006)
  48. Redlist – ‘Ignorance’ (2007)
  49. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Beautiful Mess’ (2009)
  50. Jeff Scott Soto – “21st Century” / “Gin & Tonic Sky” CD Single (2009) – Bonus Edition
  51. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘One Night in Madrid’ (2009)
  52. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – ‘Night Castle’ (2009)
  53. W.E.T. – ‘W.E.T.’ (2009)
  54. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at Firefest 2008’ (2010)
  55. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Damage Control’ (2012)
  56. W.E.T. – ‘Rise’ (2013)
  57. W.E.T. – ‘One Live in Stockholm’ (2014)
  58. SOTO – ‘Inside the Vertigo’ (2015)
  59. SOTO – ‘Divak’ (2016)
  60. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Retribution’ (2017)
  61. Sons of Apollo – ‘Psychotic Symphony’ (2017)
  62. W.E.T. – ‘Earthrage’ (2018)
  63. SOTO – ‘Origami’ (2019)
  64. Sons of Apollo – ‘Live With the Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony’ (2019)
  65. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Wide Away (In My Dreamland)’ (2020)
  66. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live and Loud in Milan 2019’ (2020)
  67. Sons of Apollo – ‘MMXX’ (2020)
  68. SOTO – ‘Revision’ (2020)
  69. W.E.T. – ‘Retransmission’ (2021)
  70. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘The Duets Collection, Vol. 1’ (2021)

17 thoughts on “Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Eternal Prisoner’ (1992) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

  1. Axel has certainly always done his own thing, he never gave a damn about the times he was in and made his own music. Like you said he writes well for the song and avoids the wankery of well, we know who. Jeff was a good partner for him, powerful yet also not taking everything over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I need to explore more Axel outside of JSS. Sometimes, I think Axel holds back too much and that he might need to let it rip a little bit. I’ve noticed that, but I do like his restraint as well.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s