1. Intro / the Guillotine Suite
2. Ghost in the Black
3. Run with the Wind
4. Before I Die
5. Circle of the Oath
6. Fortunes of War
7. Bridges to Nowhere
8. Lived Our Lives Before
9. Hold on to Your Dreams
10. World of Confusion (the Masquerade Ball Pt. II)
Release Date: 26 March 2012 – SPV
….and in a same interval as ever Axel Rudi Pell releases a new album again. The fourteenth regular one, if I am not wrong. The new power feed is called „Circle of the Oath“. Of course affected of Pell’s guitar play and the memorable power metal voice of Johnny Gioeli. By the way…Gioeli: The comparison in some magazines with Kingdom Come are limping. For me the vocalist remembers more to Robin McAuley than to the suffering voice of the legendary vocal artist of 80’s hard rock, Lenny Wolf.
However…you can hear out Johnny at once, high recognition value.
Musically we get to hear the usual strong power metal hymns. Doesn’t matter if Axel swings the mace like in the straight forward songs („Ghost In The Black“, „Run With The Wind“, „Fortunes Of War“ ), picks the acoustical one like in the beginning of the epic touched title track or even only plays his brilliant solos like nearly in every song. The band plays it safe. What brings tears in the eyes of the fans, others will criticise as standardized. Well..the arrangements, the refrain hymns, the melodies of good feelings….all is arranged harmonious and it is fun for the listeners to listen to.
The compulsive but very strong ballad „Lived our Lives before“ has a more tragic touch than boring us with heartly sounds and lyrics. A must have for all women with a mature character.
The album’s peak appears, like often, in the end. With the 10-minute colossus „World of Confusion“ Pell created the second part of his 2000 classic „The Masquerade Ball“. Varied and epic, like the original, Pell unites all facettes of his working art here.
Summary: Accurate album, maybe a little stronger than the last ones, cause of the amount of catchy, with high harmonies but performed in champions league quality songs and the enormous hit frequency. The drum work of monster Terrana and the carefully included keyboards of Doernberg play their part for an all around felicitous power metal highlight.
Points: 8 / 10
Review by Kerbinator