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Pretty Maids - Pandemonium

posted 25 Jul 2011, 08:23 by Paul Woodward   [ updated 25 Jul 2011, 11:06 ]
(Frontiers Records)
 
Denmark’s Pretty Maids have been knocking about since the early 80’s and even gained some success in the 80’s with the albums “Future World” & “Jump The Gun” - both widely regarded as classic melodic metal albums. The group have had a few line up changes over the years but main men guitarist Ken Hammer & singer Ronnie Atkins have remained ever present. The current line up now includes Kenn Jackson (Bass), Allan Tschicaja (Drums) and the latest permanent edition is keyboardist Morten Sandager. The fantastic production on this album is provided by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat) and the band plan to tour this album heavily in Europe this autumn, including an exclusive performance at this year’s Firefest.

Personally post 80’s Pretty Maids has been a bit hit and miss for me and I thought the last Maids album 06‘s “Wake Up To The Real World” was a total turkey. Pandemonium on the other hand is Pretty Maids back to their best - melodic metal Bliss. Showing their 80’s sound more prominently than in recent years but updated and it settles nicely (well I think so) in mainstream melodic metal circles. Established Maids fans will go ape shit over this collection of majestic melodic metal anthems and should also open the ears of new fans.

I’ve been really disappointed lately by the current crop of melodic metal albums and was really taken aback by the amazing strength and quality of this album, especially as I wasn’t expecting much from it. I have to say keyboardist Morten Sandager’s contribution to this album whether it be with big in your face keyboard moments or subtle ones has been outstanding, his involvement has definitely re-sparked my passion for the band. There’s lot’s of albums out there masquerading as melodic metal, screw them; you want some TRUE melodic metal get your ears round this bad boy!

After an atmospheric intro “Pandemonium” has a killer keyboard riff to opening proceedings, instantly pricking up my ears! Highly melodic metal, with big ass guitars. An in your face attention grabbing album opener, with great guitar riffs and stellar keyboards. “I.N.V.U” has a head banging infectious guitar riff, it’s instant and has a memorable melodic chorus. I really liked the strong vocal performance from Ronnie Atkins on this track. Power Ballad “Little Drops Of Heaven” is an instant and powerful song. It has fantastic keyboards and a big ass in your face chorus which also has a killer guitar lick in it. I had this song stuck in my head for days after I first heard it.

“One Word, One Truth” is a top notch rocker with a killer chorus and an amazing guitar solo. It’s filled with melodic guitar riffs and instant melodies. “Final Day Of Innocence” is a softer track (well sort of) with strong melodic vocals from Ronnie again and a big AOR style chorus. “Cielo Drive” has some killer metal guitar playing on it, but the song isn’t as instant and catchy as others on here. This should be a good song live though as it’s a head banging inducing ripper!

“It Comes At Night” is a driving metal anthem, another head banger inducer which perhaps doesn’t hit you first time on record but will definitely earn it’s stripes live! “Old Enough To Know” is a great ballad, with strong vocals and some killer guitar work from Ken Hammer. Containing a big ass memorable chorus and is perhaps a softer track but still very metallic. “Beautiful Madness” has some fantastic subtle keyboard work and a driving rock riff builds through a hook filled song to a stomping and instant chorus. “Breathless” has in your face beautiful keyboards and guitar licks that hit you straight away, combined with a big melodic chorus makes it a real winner for me!

Majestic stomping metal which embraces melodic vocals, melodic guitars and killer keyboards whole heartedly and produces amazing results. I can’t recommend this album enough; definitely check it out if you like melodic metal, Leverage and symphonic metal bands. I had very low hopes for this album, even though I’m a big fan of the band and “Don’t Settle For Less” is one of my favourite songs of all time. So I was really happy with pandemonium and it’s really great to have the Maids back, and back to their best!

Track Listing:
 Pandemonium / I.N.V.U / Little Drops Of Heaven / One World One Truth / Final Day Of Innocence / Cielo Drive / It Comes At Night / Old Enough To Know / Beautiful madness / Breathless / It Comes At Night (Remix)
Album Rating:
 5/5
Woody's Essential Track:
Little Drops Of Heaven

Pandemonium is OUT NOW and available from all good retailers and http://www.destinyrocks.com

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