The second full-length studio album by the legendary German Hard Rock/Heavy/Power Metal band.
After transitioning into a solo artist and releasing the strong yet somewhat derivative album “Wild Obsession”, Axel parted ways with singer Charlie Huhn and hooked up with more accomplished and passion driven singer Rob Rock. “Nasty Reputation” is the blue print for the new and refined band's sound that still consistently present on his latest albums despite a changing musical world and a barrage of fly by night trends.
Rob Rock’s vocal performance on here is over-the-top, as is the case with his solo work, but this has consistently worked well for him. He pulls off Sleazy sounding Rocking numbers like the album’s title track and “Wanted Man” with equally proficiency as he does the more vocally exposed and keyboard driven ballad “When a Blind Man cries”. Unlike Jeff Scott Soto and Johnny Gioeli, whom both tend to sound rough edged when hitting the higher notes, Rob’s voice consistently remains a husky, classically driven tenor when not going for the over-the-top banshee screeches.
As far as the overall song collection on here, we get all the key ingredients for the same winning albums of “Oceans Of Time” and “Kings And Queens” which followed a while after this one. “I Will Survive” and “Fighting the Law” are classic band's brand Speed Metal. “Wanted Man” and “Firewall” are cut from the mid-tempo 80s inspired Sleaze Metal but with a bit more attitude, as is “Unchain the Thunder” but with a few quiet sections for melodically driven guitar work and more subdued vocals. “When a Blind Man Cries” is the first true Axel Rudi Pell ballad in the current definition, combining an exposed vocal performance and a serene overall atmosphere provided by the keyboards with some emotionally driven yet simple lead work. “Nasty Reputation” is cut from the mid-tempo 80s fold, but also possesses the simple riffing and Rock glorifying lyrics that make for any live venue favorite. But the one that really grabs the listener is the epic guitar driven track “Land of the Giants”, which is the blueprint for every long winded epic found on every release since its conception. Musically it bears the most similarity to “Gates of the Seven Seals” off the "Oceans Of Time" LP, containing a similar elongated solo section with funky wah pedal work and some interesting background atmospheric devices.
Overall, if you liked “Oceans Of Time”, “Between The Walls”, “Masquerade Ball”, or any of the mid 90s to current day Axel Rudi Pell releases, this album will definitely give you and enjoyable listening experience! If you are not familiar with these releases, picture a brilliant marriage of the lyrical poetry of Ronnie Dio, the music of Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Yngwie Malmsteen and you’ll get the basic idea!!
SPV/Steamhammer, 1991 (SPV 084-76342). Made in Germany. Re-press.
1. I Will Survive 5:03
2. Nasty Reputation 4:07
3. Fighting The Law 3:21
4. Wanted Man 3:49
5. When A Blind Man Cries 4:34
6. Land Of The Giants 10:25
7. Firewall 3:51
8. Unchain The Thunder 3:31
9. Open Doors ( Pt.1:Experience Pt.2:The Journey Pt.3:Sugar Big Daddy ) 7:54
Total playing time: 46:35