Alex Rudi Pell Diamonds Unlocked

It takes a special sort of metal head to fully appreciate Euro metal. With its soaring vocals and kinship to North American hair metal, it never fully attained the respect it’s lavished with in other corners of the world. Super-guitarist Axel Rudi Pell has fought to bring this sub-genre to the forefront for almost three decades but hasn’t exactly advanced the frontline. Yet with covers album Diamonds Unlocked, he may have dealt one hell of a blow to non-believers. Selecting an array of tracks presumably for their non-metalness as much as for their (in his mind) extraordinary composition, he has brought his collection of maestros into the studio to create heavier versions of songs by U2 ("Beautiful Day”), Michael Bolton ("Fools Gold”) and Phil Collins ("In The Air Tonight”), as well as a few obvious choices including Montrose, the Who and Riot. Surprisingly, not only do the tunes transfer well into metallic virtuoso territory but in fact, most of them become more interesting and/or listenable thanks to the innovative approach. Naturally, a touch of prodigal preening and attitude works its way into the mix and the overall album has a bit of hilarity to it. Those aspects are almost appreciated because if these guys can make ’bangers sing along to Bono, they’re doing something right. (SPV)