2016 release from Frontiers Record srl.
Ronnie Atkins – Vocals. Ken Hammer – Guitar. Rene Shades – Bass. Allan Tchicaja – Drums. Kim Olesen – Keyboards.
Artist location: Denmark.
4.5 out of 5 stars rating.
Reviewed by David.
- When God Took A Day Off.
- Face The World.
- Humanize Me.
- Last Beauty On Earth.
- Bull’s Eye.
- King Of The Right Here And Now.
- Heaven’s Little Devil.
- Civilized Monsters.
- Was That What You Wanted.
- Kingmaker (Extended version, Japanese import only).
- Humanize Me (Extended edition, Japanese import only).
Pretty Maids are a band that have re-emerged onto the music scene out of, dare I say, moderate obscurity in the past few years. Not that they ever disappeared or were unknown to us, but after albums like 1987’s ‘Future World’ and the amazing ‘Jump The Gun’ record from 1990 (my personal favorite) the band released some albums that just failed to ever reach the strength of their predecessors and, in my opinion, the band were less of a force in the melodic hard rock arena during that time.
But then 2010 rolled around and the band came back in a big way with the excellent ‘Pandemonium’ record and then hit us again in 2013 with the fantastic ‘Motherland’ album. Both of these records saw the band taking their music in a more melodic, heavier and all around much bigger sounding direction, and it most certaintly worked for them as they were sounding better than they had since 1990.
With these two albums under their belts, the band was back on top of the music world and in 2014 they released the record ‘Louder Than Ever’, a self-proclaimed stepping stone of sorts between albums. It featured eight re-recorded songs from some previous records and four new songs.
Now they have released ‘Kingmaker’, an impressive album number fifteen for these Danish rockers, and it finds the band taking the same approach as they have on their last few records. It is hard, it is heavy, it is loud and it’s in your face rock ‘n’ roll that just kicks ass.
Ronnie Atkins still sounds wonderful. As if unaware of his age, his voice can still hold up to the hard rocking numbers like ‘Sickening’ and ‘When God Took The Day Off’ and sound just fantastic. He is, and has always been, an outstanding vocalist.
He was a busy man this year as he has delivered not just one but two thoroughly amazing records, this one and the utterly fantastic Nordic Union album with the extraordinary Erik Martensson. A tremendous piece of melodic rock.
The band sounds as great as ever here with every band member being on point and delivering with every track. An extremely talented group of guys to be sure and they prove that talent over and over and over throughout the record.
I’ll be honest, this was not a love at first listen for me and this album is a prime example of why you listen to a record multiple times before reviewing. Some records, like the new Bulletrain album or Cruzh or Tyketto or The Defiants, jump out at me immediately and I love them from note one. Others take a few spins and a bit of living with before they settle in and I love them as well. This is one of the latter records.
I did not immediately think this was going to be a highly rated record, to be honest. Sure, there were some great songs like my favorite, the hard rocking and very catchy ‘Bull’s Eye’ that caught my attention right away. But then there were others like ‘Last Beauty On Earth’ and ‘Civilized Monsters’ that I had to sit with a few times before they caught me.
But catch me they did.
My initial thought was that this was not as strong as ‘Pandemonium’ and ‘Motherland’, at least not as glaringly obvious to me at first as those records were. But thankfully I gave it a few more spins and with each listen my appreciation for this album grew until I realized that this is every bit as good as those two records,
if not better!
The songs here are incredible. No two ways about that. The songwriting, the musicians, the vocals, the production. Everything about this record is fantastic and I am highly impressed with the band for bringing three albums in a row of new material that stand as some of the strongest material they have ever written.
As it stands there is not much different here then we have been getting from the guys. If you have liked their last few releases with that big, bombastic, heavy rock ‘n’ roll they have been giving us since 2010, then you will likely not be disappointed with this release. It is in the same vein as those records and it is simply fantastic.
It is a wonderful, monster of a record from a classic band full of talented artists that have found a way to still make themselves a very relevant part of melodic rock after starting over 35 years ago. Something to be respected for sure. And these guys are showing no signs of slowing down, something the melodic rock world can be very thankful for.
The Japenese import comes with two bonus tracks, extended versions of ‘Kingmaker’ and ‘Humanize Me’. Personally I do not see the point of adding these and unless you are just the number one Pretty Maids fan of the world it is a pretty pointless expenditure.
Fans of the band and of melodic hard rock take notice of this one, it is worth every penny.
Yet another big release in a huge year for the genre. There is no doubt about it, these guys full out rock and they have released one of the finest albums of their careers here.
Not quite a perfect album, but it is damn close!
Very highly recommended.
‘When God Took A Day Off’.
‘Face The World’.
‘Was That What You Wanted’.