Danish hard rock legends Pretty Maids have returned with Undress Your Madness, the bands follow up to 2016’s excellent release Kingmaker. Pretty Maids has been on a roll since 1984 through revolving lineups but the one constant has been the songwriting duo of singer Ronnie Atkins and guitarist Ken Hammer, who have kept the fires burning since the band began in 1981. Best known for their cult classic hit song Future World released in 1987, Pretty Maids had a career renaissance in 2010 with the Pandemonium album and each release since just adds to their legacy as one of the best melodic heavy rock acts out there.
With the release of Undress Your Madness on November 8, 2019 on Frontiers Records, also came the unfortunate news that lead vocalist Atkins had been diagnosed with lung cancer and the band would cease all touring activities for the foreseeable future. We can only pray that Atkins treatment will be successful and he will be out on the road sooner rather than later.
As for the album, the band continues to do what they do best, combine melodic hard rock, AOR, pounding drums, powerful melodic vocals, huge choruses, and razor sharp heavy metal riffs. After a short intro, the album kicks off properly with the heavy and haunting first single Serpentine. This song sets the table for what is to come. Atkins is in fine voice as always and the chorus is powerful, catchy, and melodic.
The next song, Firesoul Fly is yet another fantastic entry in a long line of Pretty Maids melodic metal anthems. Atkins vocals are AOR perfection and the chorus is huge, soaring, and dripping with melody. The title track brings out the heavier side of the band with Ken Hammer’s guitar riffs taking center stage. The chorus is another memorable sing-a-long melodic metal gem as Atkins aggressive vocals are magnificent.
The band switches gears on Will You Still Kiss Me (If I See You In Heaven), which has a slower darker vibe during the verses and combined with an excellent AOR style chorus. The AOR melodic rock continues on Runaway World. The song is catchy as hell with a mid-tempo beat and chugging guitars. Atkins melodic vocals fit the song perfectly. The heavy side of the band returns on If You Want Peace (Prepare For War). Atkins turns up the aggression in his vocals to match the relentless onslaught of Ken Hammer’s killer guitar riffage, and the pounding drums.
Slavedriver is another riff heavy track that has a metal edge and a pump your fist, sing-a-long, relentless chorus. Shadowlands is a melodic hard rock gem with AOR sensibilities featuring a fantastic chorus. Black Thunder cranks things up with heavy metal swagger and a chorus with attitude. The albums final track, Strength Of A Rose is a power ballad with strong vocal work and a beautifully crafted chorus. It may be a strange choice to close the album, but a fine song nonetheless.
If you’re a longtime fan of Pretty Maids you will thoroughly enjoy Undress Your Madness, another fine entry in the legacy of Pretty Maids.