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Pretty Maids - 'It Comes Alive - Maid In Switzerland' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/c2/fb/54/2186_prettymaidsitcomesalive_1336840216.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 12, 2012    
 
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A must have.

As most of you who’ve read my ramblings over the years will probably already know, I’ve got something of a soft spot for Denmark’s Pretty Maids ... have had for nigh on 30 years now. Instrumental (along perhaps with TNT, Vandenberg, Accept and Heavy Load) in sparking a voyage of discovery that would ultimately prove the European scene went way deeper than the Scorpions; since I first bagged myself a copy of their self titled debut six tracker back in 1983 (the one with the cover depicting the lovely Shelly wrapped ‘demurely’ around a Flying V), they’ve proven remarkably resilient and never ever disappointed.

Reinvigorated by the overwhelmingly positive response to 2010’s sizzling ‘Pandemonium’ (their strongest album in years), da Maids have been on the road on and off ever since ... what better memento then of that particular tour than their first ever audio/visual release! Recorded last October in the charming Swiss town of Pratteln (in front of what can only be described as a wholly partisan crowd), the lavishly packaged 2CD/DVD ‘It Comes Alive...’ captures Pretty Maids at their bombastically overblown best!

The charge of course is led by battle hardened warriors Ronnie Atkins and Ken Hammer (stoic survivors who between them have guided the band since day one), their unbroken stewardship of the Pretty Maids dream vindicated with arguably the strongest line up of the band thus far. Their last live album (2003’s ‘Alive At Least’) came at the tail end of probably the heaviest (read most metallic) period in their history, but this time around the set has been tailor made to do justice to what was easily their commercially most successful period (the mid 80’s).

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As such Ken’s biting guitar histrionics are deftly supported with a strong keyboard sound (courtesy of Morten Sandager) which really takes me back to the time when they could do no wrong. The latest studio album is well represented – the mighty ‘Pandemonium’ launches their aural assault in fine style, and the insidious ‘It Comes At Night’ proves to be a real highlight – but it’s the veritable cornucopia of classic Maids that really gets the ol’ juices flowing. ‘Queen Of Dreams’, ‘Back To Back’ and the remorseless ‘Red Hot And Heavy’ from their full length debut, tons from the classic ‘Future World’ opus (what set would be complete without that massive title track?!) and a smattering of highlights culled from the rest (for once the European version has the best bonus track in my opinion in ‘Lethal Heroes’).

Would’ve loved to see ‘Eye Of The Storm’ given an airing too (then again I’m a picky bastard when it comes to Pretty Maids!), but otherwise I really can’t find fault with the song selection or individual performances here (I especially love their wonderfully atmospheric interpretation of ‘Savage Heart’) ... the inclusion of the DVD just makes it complete.

A fitting memento to one of the most criminally underrated bands in the business ... a must have!

Dave Cockett

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