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Pretty Maids - Pandemonium

Pretty Maids
by Grigoris Chronis at 02 May 2010, 10:05 AM

There are bands you love to love and acts you love to hate, there are genres you despise and sounds you show eternal faith to, there are genre fans you probably laugh at and fellow aficionados you share common ideals with…and there are bands like e.g. PRETTY MAIDS whose – apart from everything else – extra ‘thumbs up’ attribute is arcane unity and broad acceptance from the Hard ‘n’ Heavy world. Have seen this wonderful Dannish band onstage a couple of times and scanning the audience you could witness AOR-sters and Euro-metalheads raising one fist next to the other. If that’s not music’s magic, then what?…

PRETTY MAIDS started as a THIN LIZZY cover band and that’s one circumstance explaining the above theory (Phil Lynott’s band was probably the most all-areas-take Rock band throughout their career, bonding 70s rockers, hardrockin’ outlaws, primal metalheads and sole guitar/synthesis expertise individuals). Good thing also is they’ve been faithful to their trademark songwriting and sound for more than 25 years and – even if their 1983-1992 works are considered to pile up their master discography – PRETTY MAIDS has probably shown zero weak moments in their rich illustrious career. Ronnie Atkins and Ken Hammer are long now the only original members and that’s alone the only guiding light the band’s fans need in order to first swallow this legendary outfit’s new album entitled “Pandemonium” since it equals this new CD is surely worth your time and money…again.

Starting (and finishing) with possible components of differentiation in PRETTY MAIDS’s recent work we should refer to a) the production of the album, which does not feature any big surprise, it just utilizes the idea of how a band playing melodic Hard Rock/Heavy Metal music in Europe should sound in 2010, and b) some specific parts in certain songs that bear a more ‘dark’ attitude (I guess the general motive is again explained from what you should expect by such a band in 2010). Leaving aside these facts, the big picture is that Atkins and Hammer offer (again) a beautiful album with enough of their ‘trademark’ variety crossfiring melodic on-the-edge AOR/Hard melodies with blistering metallic faster tempos. If you’re into this band’s discography rest assured you will fancy “Pandemonium”’s tracklist, not to mention the guitars still shine on and the classic ‘savage/harmonious’ vocal style of Atkins we’ve all adored over the years do steal the show.

The opening track of the same title is a fast thunder with a fat sound and some pompous darkened keyboards (keyboard player Morten Sandager is credited as permanent member now) adding to an ‘urban’ atmosphere. “I.N.V.U.” brings the band’s melodic hardrockin’ blend forth, featuring a g-r-e-a-t chorus melody pushing the whole number to the top. “Little Drops Of Heaven” is the first single/video for this new album and is a mid-pace fresh-riffing rocker with a convincing ‘commercial’ refrain (would not choose this one for a promoting tool, though). “One World One Truth” fastens things up and features a kranking main riff with adrenaline vocals and a dominating a-la “Sin-decade” (1992) refrain, while “Final Day Of Innocence” hides a 70s-like songwriting dressed in the usual PRETTY MAIDS layers; the refrain boasts a great hook too, not to be neglected.

“Cielo Drive” runs fast again (I love the way PRETTY MAIDS compile the songlist’s sequence) with some impressive vocal harmonies by Atkins ("…hell – tonight - no one left alive…") and a fuckin’ great solo. Being 4/4 tempo time again, “It Comes At Night” now portrays the classic ‘hardened melody’ profile of the band – not being an outstanding hit, though - while “Old Enough To Know” seems like a power ballad to me, with a more modern Rock profile in the verses until a great refrain hook strikes hard. “Beautiful Madness” is crispy, dancing and cocky with the melodic moments you should expect in the cut’s chorus, and “Breathless” carries on in a more atmospheric mode with lunar vocals by Ron and a sweet AOR-like refrain leaving a nice taste as the album winds up.

“Future World” (1987) has possibly received the greatest approval in the entire PRETTY MAIDS career, thus it is rightfully still today treated as a “classic” album (being the major worldwide breakthrough for these Dannish rockers, too). Why is this evidence written here and now? Just in order to not expect something in this unreachable level; those were the times and this is now. Having this in mind, “Pandemonium” is another solid powerful album justifying PRETTY MAIDS’s shining star all these 27 years and – being a little bit better or worse than any other CD in their post-80s discography, it does not matter that much – confirms this band from Denmark brings good news every time they work on an upcoming release. You’ll not escape falling in love with most tracks of this new CD if being a faithful fan of this genuine band, no way.

4 Star Rating

  1. Pandemonium
  2. I.N.V.U.
  3. Little Drops Of Heaven
  4. One World One Truth
  5. Final Day Of Innocence
  6. Cielo Drive
  7. It Comes At Night
  8. Old Enough To Know
  9. Beautiful Madness
  10. Breathless
Ronnie Atkins - Vocals
Ken Hammer - Gguitars
Kenn Jackson - Bass
Allan Tschicaja - Drums
Morten Sandager - Keyboards
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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Edited 02 February 2023

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