Pretty Maids - 'Kingmaker'

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Pretty Maids - 'Kingmaker'

Yet another outstanding and essential milestone in their career.

It's fair to say that Pretty Maids have never done a bad album in their thirty-plus year career. There have been a few peaks and troughs along the way, but the mainstay nucleus of vocalist Ronnie Atkins and guitarist Ken Hammer have guided their Danish ship through ever-changing genres without ever losing their trademark sound; a sound that is the absolute perfect blend of Melodic Rock and Heavy Metal, the blueprint of which the likes of Eclipse, Eden's Curse, C.O.P. U.K. and many others have developed in their own distinct directions.

2010, however, saw the rejuvenated Maids hit a truly purple patch in their career with the classic 'Pandemonium', followed by the similarly stylish 'Motherland' and even 2014's 'Louder Than Ever' re-recording collection is a worthy addition to their arsenal. Thankfully, 'Kingmaker' keeps that momentum going.

Every facet of what makes PM so popular is covered within, yet the more commercial side is in fact the least plundered on 'Kingmaker'. By now everybody should have heard the first single 'Face The World' with it's huge hook, if not for Hammer's chugging guitar riff this would be an AOR fan's dream. The subtly mid-tempo 'Last Beauty On Earth' is the closest thing to a ballad on offer, while the keyboard-dominated 'Heaven's Little Devil' is an eighties style Pop Rocker.



On the flip-side, the grinding riff of 'Kingmaker', the pulsating 'Bull's Eye' and the Modern Melodic Metal of 'Sickening' are the rousing, straight-ahead, fist-pumping anthems. But it's the dynamic, multi-faceted numbers with varying moods and tempos that ultimately become the album's most interesting tracks. These consist of opener 'When God Took A Day Off', with its mystic chanted intro interrupted by a wave of crashing guitars, the dark and twisted 'Humanize Me' and the rampaging and heavy-as-hell 'King Of The Right Here And Now'. The crowning glory, for me, is the awesome 'Civilised Monsters' – how a song that lyrically is a scathing attack on suicide bombers can contain one of the biggest choruses of the year is something only PM can do!

Atkins and Hammer, assisted by bassist Rene Shades and drummer Allan Tschicaja, have created yet another outstanding and essential milestone in their career. Following the recording, the multi-talented Chris Laney has joined as keyboardist/second guitarist which will surely add another dynamic to their sound. Long may this career renaissance continue!

Ant Heeks

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