Released: 2010, Frontiers
I’ve been a Pretty Maids fan since the second album way back when. That’s no easy task since almost all of their albums were not available in North America. If you haven’t visited this band in a few years, Pandemonium is now available on Frontiers and you have a great chance to reacquaint yourself with the band and learn what European and Japanese fans have known for a couple of decades: these guys kick ass!
After a four year break and a slight line-up change, PM have come roaring back with what might be their heaviest album in their career. Starting with a swelling intro with spoken word clips from US President Obama, over the top of swirling keyboards, the opening seconds of the title track serve to build tension nicely. The song itself when it kicks in is probably one of the fastest and heaviest they have ever done, while underpinned by a keyboard line reminiscent of ‘Future World’.
The entire collection of songs goes from strength to strength, from the uber-melodic first single, ‘Little Drops Of Heaven’ to the crunchy and punishing cut, ‘It Comes At Night’. The long-standing duo of Atkins and Hammer seem to have that singer-songwriter connection that so many bands strive for. Every song finds that sweet spot, the cross between heaviness and melody. The production is great, the musicianship is top-notch, everything about this record represents a career defining moment. A strong contender for my Top 10 of the year.