I’m not sure just how objective I am when it comes to reviewing a Pretty Maids record. Because it’s a small Christmas for me whenever my favourite Danes releases new music. I have been a huge fan since they released the fantastic Future World in 1986. Sure, I owned Red Hot And Heavy (1984) too and it’s a great record but it was with their second outing that I became the big fan I am today. I insist that this band has never made an even remotely bad album to this day – their worst album is just good. They have a conspicuous ability to write catchy tunes that are still heavy and they never succumb to cheese. That means that I have a big damn smile on my face before I have even heard one note whenever they release anything new. It was only one year ago since they released their latest album, the oh so brilliant Motherland which makes this some kind of record when it comes to releasing albums for the band. But it soon turns out that half of this new record are re-recordings of older songs – not OLD old songs, but songs that were released in the 90’s and early 2000’s on albums that were awesome but never got the recognition that they deserved. Now and again, there is a release of some band’s re-recordings that actually doesn’t suck, but in most cases, those are pretty pointless. Now, half of this record are unreleased songs, but when bands releases an album like this, the new songs are usually leftovers and there’s usually a reason why they are leftovers. Would this be the first time a Pretty Maids album would disappoint me? Well, I had to wait and see, but this time the smile on my face wasn’t as broad as it usually is when I get to listen to a new Pretty Maids album.
First song, “Deranged” erases all doubts. It’s one of the newies, but if this is a leftover, I can’t possibly get it through my head why. It’s a classic Pretty Maids opener – hard, fast and melodic metal at its best. “Playing God” is one of their more anonymous tracks and it is also taken from one of my least favourite albums, Planet Panic from 2002. But here the song gets new life and even thought it’s the same song, it feels totally different, like it’s completely new – brilliant. I have always liked Scream from 1994 a lot, but on that album, I can find lots of songs that I favour to “Psycho Time Bomb Planet Earth”. However, on this re-recording it sounds fresh and it breathes. The new clothes fits the song perfectly. Next newie is “My Soul To Take” and it’s one of those more poppy half-ballads that these guys does so well. This one goes in the same vein as “Little Drops Of Heaven” (Pandemonium,2010) or “Bullet For You” (Motherland, 2013) and just like those, this one should be a big hit, if I had any say in anything. “He Who Never Lived”, another Planet Panic tune and another one that I have hardly paid any attention to before, sounds fantastic here. It has this heavy rock Pretty Maids style, but with a Def Leppard influence over it. Planet Panic seems like an album the guys weren’t that satisfied with as “Virtual Brutality” is the third song from that album to get a new outfit. But the song sounds quite similar to the original recording and the song was never a favourite of mine. Not bad, but the song passes me by a bit unnoticed. “Tortured Spirit” from the brilliant and so underrated Carpe Diem (2000) has always been an awesome tune and that doesn’t change here. It has gotten a bit more modern sound, but for the most part, it’s not that different to the original recording. The ballad “With These Eyes” from Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Overdoing (1999) comes across like a lost gem here. What a brilliant tune!! Why I haven’t discovered that song before is a mystery. The same can be said of “Snakes In Eden” from said album. A heavy track that I never paid much attention to before. I’m starting to feel pretty glad that they decided to release these re-recordings. “Nuclear Boomerang”, another newie, is a jawbreaker – metal the Pretty Maids way – brilliant. “Wake Up To The Real World”, the title track of that 2006 album, was always a great song, but this version is superior to the original – on here it has this comprehensive smoulder that I feel the original lacks a bit – this version is heavier and more driven. The album ends with a new song, “A Heart Without A Home”, a ballad. The song is so damn brilliant, very emotional with a lot of heart and soul.
Another brilliant release from my favourite Danes and I must stress that it’s both stupendous and conspicuous how a band that has been going for 30 years still can sound so fresh and alive and with an almost unreal ability to write high-class songs and records of almost unreal high quality, there haven’t been many songs in their repertoire that has been redundant at all. Ok, so the songs they have chosen to re-record might not have been my obvious choices had it been up to me. No songs from my favourite Pretty Maids album Spooked (1997) and many of the songs on here weren’t stuff that I hail as their best. But on the other hand, I have with this album discovered and rediscovered some forgotten pearls that without this record would have still been forgotten. So I guess this album has done its job. Pretty Maids has, since their brilliant “come back” in 2010, with the fantastic Pandemonium,been in the spotlight more than ever, even more than they were in their heyday in the 80’s and after blowing me away with this album, maybe they should make another one of those re-recordings. I mean, this album might open up the eyes of the people who hasn’t heard these 90’s and early 2000’s records. Those albums are just too damn great to fall into oblivion. If they do decide on doing that, I volunteer to make the track list. In the meantime, get this. Another killer from a killer band.
Jon Wilmenius (9/10)
01. Deranged (New Song)
02. Playing God (Rerecorded)
03. Psycho Time Bomb Planet Earth (Rerecorded)
04. My Soul To Take (New Song)
05. He Who Never Lived (Rerecorded)
06. Virtual Brutality (Rerecorded)
07. Tortured Spirit (Rerecorded)
08. With These Eyes (Rerecorded)
09. Nuclear Boomerang (New Song)
10. Snakes In Eden (Rerecorded)
11. Wake Up To The Real World (Rerecorded)
12. A Heart Without A Home (New Song)