Pretty Maids - 'Undress Your Madness'

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Pretty Maids - 'Undress Your Madness'

Encompasses a more commercial direction without losing their gritty characteristic.

They are arguably the greatest Heavy Rock band ever to emerge from Denmark and one of the best from Europe as a whole. Though there are many groups who combine ass-kicking Heavy Metal anthems with Melodic Hard Rock tunes, there are few who can do it quite as well as Pretty Maids because their albums have the perfect blend and both styles are very often incorporated within the same song. With the utmost respect to their back catalogue which dates back to 1981, it was when they slightly updated and refreshed their sound by unleashing the epic 'Pandemonium' in 2010 that they truly re-established themselves as a major force within the European Rock scene; that dominance is set to continue as they now release their fifteenth album 'Undress Your Madness'.

If their previous effort 'Kingmaker' mostly leaned more towards the heavier side of Pretty Maids, then 'Undress Your Madness' somewhat heads the opposite way as it predominantly encompasses a more commercial direction without losing their gritty characteristic. Take the dynamic opener 'Serpentine' or the anthemic 'Black Thunder' as the perfect example of combining Metal and melody, but then balance it with the wonderfully commercial Hard Rock of 'Firesoul Fly', 'Runaway World' and the mid-tempo 'Shadowlands', the latter accommodating an immense chorus that could possibly see it surpassing 'Little Drops Of Heaven' as my all-time favourite Maids track.

'Will You Still Kiss Me (If I See You In Heaven)' is somewhat darker in mood yet masquerades as an exceptional heart-wrenching ballad, while album closer 'Strength Of A Rose' is the first true lighters-in-the-air power ballad they have recorded for some time. However, those coveting the heavier side of the band are still catered for as the title-track, 'If You Want Peace (Prepare For War)' and 'Slavedriver' all meet that requirement brilliantly.

There have been many great Rock song-writing partnerships over the years (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards, John Lennon/Paul McCartney, Elton John/Bernie Taupin, Jimmy Page/Robert Plant, Jon Bon Jovi/Richie Sambora et al.), but surely Ronnie Atkins and Ken Hammer deserve some recognition for amassing an outstanding body of work in a nearly forty-year career. Assisted by bassist Rene Shades, keyboardist Chris Laney and drummer Allan Sørensen, 'Undress Your Madness' sees that partnership adding another immense contribution to their Pretty Maids biography – now all we need is a full UK tour to promote it!

Ant Heeks

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