Danish rockers, Pretty Maids, released their new album Kingmaker last Friday (4 November 2016). I can’t even wait to get through the review to tell you all, it’s one of the best new albums I’ve heard this entire year! It’s that good that I have to say it now.
As I put the new cd in and let it start to play the first of the 12 tracks, it only took 26 seconds of the opening track, When God Took a Day Off, building up with increasing synthesizers and monk style singing similar to a Gregorian Chant to completely suck me in and grab my full attention to what I was hearing. My mind completely shifted into how great this album was starting off and how in an instant I was thinking this could be a soundtrack to some sort of Renaissance or Viking style movie or show. There’s always been something special about the sound these rockers have and this time is no different. Melodic, heavy, singable, strong instrumentals and vocals. It’s rare for me to find a Pretty Maids release I do not like.
As the album progressed into the next track also the title track, Kingmaker, I found myself already asking could they continue to keep my interest. Could the rest of the album be just as good or even better? Kingmaker answered that with one of the BEST songs I have heard in a very long time. The song started with a prelude of strong percussion and guitars leading into waning melodic vocals pulling me into the music then as the chorus came I found myself listening closely and completely focused on the entire sound that I was hearing. I had to turn it up loud to throughly get the full effect of all that was happening and even a second listen that unfolded even more that I hadn’t caught the first time around.
Third track Face the World was a little more melodic an upbeat. Singable and easy to sing along with. By the fourth track Humanize Me I was ready to pack my bags to travel somewhere in the world to catch Pretty Maids on this tour (USA tours and Pretty Maids…. waiting on that closest was MORC in October but missed that, last time I lucked out was seeing them at Sweden Rock Festival. I will have to see them on this tour somehow, somewhere). Humanize Me is heavier song with raspy rock vocals, it’s that Scandinavian sound I have grown so fond of.
Last Beauty on Earth slows it down a bit, it’s a ballad. This is a heart felt love song, but nothing cheesy like the 80’s hairband ballads we all suffered through and yes I mean suffered through. This is just a singable and melodic ballad with the highlight being the fantastic guitar solo. I have a cold heart that rarely melts to these types of ballads, but I have to say, Ronnie Atkins could melt the ice around my heart with his singing. He’s one of only a few that can do that.
Bull’s Eye is the perfect song to follow a ballad with. It’s a, you screwed me over song, that literally says his world was torn apart. This has a much faster tempo and ripping guitars throughout the song. It’s the anti-ballad. Fast, angry, melodic and great all around song that’s followed up by another heavy guitar shredding song with raspy vocals, King of the Right Here and Now. This track I really enjoyed. These guys are really good at setting the sound in their music and blending in awesome vocals, but this also went into a good guitar solo with high pitching and ending with some screaming vocals. This is the kind of rock sound that pulls me in every direction. Great song.
Track 8, Heaven’s Little Devil, another somewhat balladish love song. The instrumentals are great on this song, but the vocals and lyrics were really not winner for me on this song. I’d say out of the entire album, this is the one song that just didn’t work for me personally. I lived the 80’s, I lived all the ballads and I’d like to not live them again. 80’s rock was great, all the ballads… not so much.
Next up is Civilized Monsters. Make no mistake by the first few seconds of slowness in the opening of this song. This is not another ballad. This is a dark, melancholy song talking about humanity and it’s evils. After the slow start it gets nice and heavy. So do not make the mistake of skipping this track, you have to get to the :52 second mark in the song to get to the heavy, grinding sound and keep listening because you will hear some awesome guitars in this track.
Sickening is one of my personal favorites on this album. It’s one of the hardest songs on the entire album and if there is one thing Pretty Maids does exceptionally well, it’s heavy! Heavy guitars, bass and percussion blended with heavy vocals. Yea this song appeals to all of my senses. I love a good rock song and this is a great one with even heavier lyrics and screaming throughout the vocals in this song. Ahhhh yes, more please!
The next to last track on this album is Was That What You Wanted. Another solid written and recorded song. Strong instrumentals and vocals through out this song. On this album the lyrics are pretty deep so you have to really listen to what each songs lyrics are saying. This song being no exception. Dark and meaningful lyrics. You really have to listen to what they are saying in each song, not meaning you have to listen to understand how they speak, but listen to what they are saying and telling you.
The last track on this album is an extended bonus track of Kingmaker. It’s bigger, more dramatic and better than the single/studio cut. I prefer this extended version, but then I enjoy the additional larger effect it gives to this song. Like I said before, it’s a song meant for an epic soundtrack to some sort movie or show. I personally vote for Vikings on History to come knocking at Pretty Maids door and use it in their show!
So if there’s a new album to pick up, it’s this one! This is a solid album, minus the ballad of course, it’s a great album that you should definitely add to your collection. I could listen to just Kingmaker over and over and be thrilled but I have the entire album to enjoy. Seriously, get this album and keep an eye out for Pretty Maids to go on tour. I just hope that they add some USA dates this next year, even just a Seattle date and I can live with that! Hoping they get on a few of the festivals I am headed to in 2017 too!
Enjoy the new album friends and turn this one up LOUD!!!!