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PRETTY MAIDS Kingmaker

By Alex Yarborough, Orlando Contributor
Wednesday, November 16, 2016 @ 1:30 PM


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PRETTY MAIDS
Kingmaker

2016 Frontiers Records




Danish rock veterans PRETTY MAIDS have always walked a fine line between power metal and AOR metal. It could be said they helped define the AOR metal genre. They have the uncommon ability to write hard rockers as well as commercially accessible songs.

PRETTY MAIDS is nearing its 36th year in existence. I’m consistently amazed by how many rock fans don’t know this band. The band’s 15th studio release, Kingmaker, is the follow up to 2013’s Motherland. On Kingmaker, original members Ronnie Atkins (vocals) and Ken Hammer (guitar) are joined by longtime members Allan Tschicaja (drums) and Rene Shades (bass). New member Chris Laney provides the keyboards.

“When God Took A Day Off” has a cool intro that builds up to the kick-in, around a minute into the song. This song analyzes terrifying world events and wonders if God went on vacation and allowed them to happen. This is a very solid opening track. Title track “Kingmaker” follows, and takes things into a higher gear with double bass drums from Tschicaja, blistering riffs from Hammer and a monster chorus from Atkins. This is a very good song, one of the best on the album, and the video can be viewed on KNAC.COM right HERE.

The band’s commercial side shines first on “Face The World”, which could easily be a hit song and single release. A fantastic melodic riff and solo from Hammer accentuates the track. This is a very catchy, uplifting song. “Humanize Me” has an incredible atmosphere around it as well, furnished chiefly by Laney’s tasty keyboards. The steady intro, followed by the guitar crunch, will entice headbanging in fans. Power ballad “Last Beauty On Earth” examines a broken relationship, and is possibly the most commercial track on Kingmaker.

“Bull’s Eye” rocks out with some pulsing riffs and a catchy chorus. Another of my favorites, the song captures what PRETTY MAIDS are all about in one song. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be “King Of The Right Here And Now” which is a real barnstorming track, featuring one of the more muscular riffs on the album, as well as a scorching lead vocal from Atkins. Shades’ bass work is noteworthy here as well. The commercial “Heaven’s Little Devil” works very well; the chorus “And here we go again” became the most memorable on the album. This is the catchiest song on the album. Things get serious again on “Civilized Monsters”, an examination of certain religious people who “won’t go to heaven, because you don’t belong”. “Sickening” might contain the sickest riff on the album. The machine gun delivery during the chorus is very cool. A downright angry track titled “Was That What You Wanted” closes the album with its groove and scratchy riff that shows you the diversity of what PRETTY MAIDS can deliver.

The name of the game is catchy songs, and PRETTY MAIDS play the game to perfection. There are plenty of catchy tracks to satisfy new fans as well as longtime fans. Ronnie Atkins in particular sounds outstanding on Kingmaker. His voice is as sharp as ever. I listened to this album over and over again, and it just kept growing on me more and more. Kingmaker has 11 songs and clocks in around 50 minutes. The excellent album cover artwork is among my favorites of the year. PRETTY MAIDS deserve high praise for consistently releasing quality material. Kingmaker is exceptional.

4.8 Out Of 5.0

Pick up your copy of Kingmaker now in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.


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