It is well known that Axel Rudi Pell can write both heavily rocking songs and emotional ballads. For this reason, Axel releases pure ballad albums on a regular basis. While the first three ones contained only songs written by Axel, the new release offers some cover songs, too. So, we can find for example “Holy Diver” and “Northern Lights” (great version!) on here. Additionally, there are songs (“In the air tonight” and “Love Gun” - the former being great, the latter sounding rather strange), which where both already on “Diamonds Unlocked”. From his own songs, Axel picked, for example, “Glory Night” and “Haunted Castle Serenade” and gave them a proper makeover.
The instrumentation of the songs is very variable. There are versions performed only by piano (“Holy Diver”) or acoustic guitar (“Love Gun”). However, the majority of the songs, at least partly, feature some electrical amplification. It is also quite interesting to note that Axel plays his guitar mostly in a rather simple matter - there are only a few passages where he really shows what he is able to do. Vocalist Johnny Gioeli instead seized the opportunity to show what he is made of. He really did a great job!
Nevertheless, my final verdict is this: Ballads IV evokes mixed feelings. While some songs are really great, others are simply boring. So for a romantic evenings in front of a fireplace this album might be recommendable but under different circumstances it is certainly not.