Pretty Maids - Pandemonium 3.5/5

Reviewed: 6-1-10





Tracklist:

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


Writing this review, I am kicking myself for not getting into this band earlier when I had the chance. As the title suggests, I speak of Denmark ’s Pretty Maids, who can be called veterans of the metal scene now as they have been around since the early 80s (1981 to be precise). I guess a band’s name can be a deciding factor in whether you could be interested in their music. That’s probably what happened with Pretty Maids and I’ll never make that mistake again.

Despite the “un-metal” name, Pretty Maids have a unique sound, combining heavy, yet melodic riffs with a synth-rock pop influence. You could compare Pretty Maids sound to that of modern hard rock, but add faster riffs, a heavier feel and traditional melodic metal vocals and you’re pretty much there. In short, aside from the poppy “light metal” influences in some of their tracks, there is still enough heavy, pounding and chunky guitar riffs, chords and solos to keep the energy levels at a high.

This latest CD is Pretty Maids’ 13th and their first in 4 years since 2006’s ‘Wake up to the real world’, entitled ‘Pandemonium’. While overall the release is quite solid and entertaining, you also have to take on board both the heavy melodic tracks with the popish “radio friendly” tracks as well. It’s kinda like taking the great with the not so great as these poppy tracks are metal’s version of love songs. At their hardest and heaviest, Pretty Maids sound awfully similar to power metal band Rage, not only with the sound but also the similarity between the 2 vocalists; Pretty Maids’ Ronnie Atkins and Rage’s “Peavy” Wagner.

The CD kicks off with the fast and flighty title track, containing a slow opening intro featuring an overdub of a speech by American President Barak Obama. The CD continues with the next track “I.N.V.U.”, which in my opinion, is the best song on the release. “I.N.V.U.” is a heavy, mid-paced melodic track, very catchy, with a top sing-a-long chorus to boot; a definite winner. The poppy side of Pretty Maids’ sound makes its entrance with the next track, “Little drops of heaven”. Despite its catchiness, you will either very quickly press the skip button or continue listening.

The next best track on ‘Pandemonium’ would be “Cielo drive”, a furious fast-paced track which tells the story of the murder of American actress Sharon Tate and her unborn child, in her home back in 1969. The known killers were brainwashed followers of serial killer, Charles Manson. Despite the seriousness of the lyrics, the track absolutely kicks ass in all forms. Other song highlights on ‘Pandemonium’ would include the mid-paced grinder “It comes at night”, the catchy “Final day of innocence” and the soulful “Beautiful madness”. There is another popish track on the CD and that track is the love song ballad, “Breathless”.

Overall, I find ‘Pandemonium’ to be a quite solid release, with a lot of top heavy and melodic metal tracks to go along with their “lighter” side. Those looking for a heavier influence within the melodic metal genre may steer clear of this one, however those who are less picky about their melodic metal will find ‘Pandemonium’ to be very enjoyable and entertaining.

It’s just a shame that I personally only first heard Pretty Maids at their 13th studio release, almost 30 years after the band formed. But this is the great thing about metal, and in particular the internet, because the other 12 CDs are not very far away and I have a lot of catching up to do.



SEAN




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