Frontiers Records [Release date 04.11.16]
“Kingmaker” is Pretty Maids’ 15th studio album if you include 2014’s superb “Louder Than Ever” which contained re-recordings of old tunes plus 4 newbies and it continues their run of high quality releases.
The Danish band still contains founding members Ronnie Atkins (aka Paul Christensen) on vocals and Ken Hammer (aka Kenneth Hansen) on guitar. Joining them are Rene Shades (aka Rene Sehic) on bass and long term drummer Allan Tschicaja. Keyboard player Morten Sandager left in 2014 and has only recently been replaced by Chris Laney who joined too late to actually record on the album so, the honours went to Anubis Gate’s Kim Olesen.
Opener When God Took A Day Off fairly motors along after an appropriate intro featuring chanting monks and cannot be faulted at all. Title track Kingmaker follows along a similar hard rock vein.
Face The World and Humanize Me lighten proceedings a little with their classy melodic rock. Last Beauty on Earth is the big ballad and offers the chance to wave the lighters (nowadays mobile phones) in the air.
The heavier side of Pretty Maids returns on Bull’s Eye and The King of Here and Now. Heaven’s Little Devil is very commercial and could pass for The Poodles at times.
Ronnie was singing about his goats on “Motherland” (I See Ghosts) and this time around he seems to be singing about the ceiling in his house (Sickening)…funny how you mishear things and then cannot hear it any other way…classic track nonetheless.
Production, courtesy of Volbeat producer Jacob Hansen, is crystal clear throughout.
What is it with superb European melodic hard rock bands? Pink Cream 69, Shakra, Gotthard, Jorn, Pretty Maids…they are all head and shoulders above their US counterparts.
Quite a lyrically dark album but still another class outing from Pretty Maids…improves with every listen. ****½
Review by Phil Berisford
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Power Plays w/c 11 November (Mon-Fri)
MILES NIELSEN AND THE RUSTED HEARTS Hands Up (indie)
THE FARGO RAILROAD COMPANY Something In The Water (indie)
THE DARK ELEMENT If I Had A Heart (Frontiers)
LIBERTY LIES A Thousand People (indie)
DIRTY SHIRLEY Here Comes The King (Frontiers)
CARRY THE CROWN Runaway (indie)
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09:00-12:00 WORK OF ART Exhibits (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 SIGN X Like A Fire (Pride & Joy Music)
14:00-16:00 JACK BROADBENT Moonshine Blue (Creature Records)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
MAGNUM Sleepwalking (1992)
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