'Louder Than Ever'
Release Date: 21st March 2014
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
Don't panic, and certainly don't go reaching for the tablets as this album isn't a brand new studio album.
If you're a fan or just familiar with 'Motherload' which came out last year, 'Louder Than Ever' is an album that fills in a gap before we receive their next proper album of brand new material.
Instantly my heart sinks when reading of these things where albums that offer very little new stimulation are often merely either stop-gaps due to unforeseen circumstances regarding a new album, or are released to fill the greedy businessmen's pockets! Trying to bypass my scepticism, I enter this album with a forced open mind.
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Lead vocalist Ronnie Atkins explains: "The reason for doing this project is to give those songs a different spin with the band and producer we have now."
The producer is none other than Jacob Hansen who collaborates with the Danish melodic rockers; Ken Hammer on guitar, Rene Shades with bass in hand, Allan Tchicaja bashing drums and Morten Sandager flirting on keyboards.
'Louder Than Ever' is a collection of tracks which are re-recordings of several songs from their 1994 to 2006 existence, and for some reason they avoid their first few albums. From the twelve songs that make up this gathering of muscular melodic rock, eight are re-recordings with four brand new audio delights to digest. The new kids on the block arrive in the shapes of 'Deranged', 'My Soul To Take', 'Nuclear Boomerang' and 'A Heart Without A Home'.
As you'd imagine from an album-opener, 'Deranged' has all guitars firing and delivers a solid arrangement complete with hook-laden chorus. 'My Soul To Take' dispenses with the obvious blunt delivery of the distorted guitar for a more spacious arrangement whilst carrying the torch for their poppier sensibilities.
If you're an avid supporter of this band, you'll already be aware of their latest music video for 'Nuclear Boomerang', and for those who are curious and unaware of the Pretty Maids presence in 2014, you can feast the eyes and ears on this:
When you've recovered from the punchy meeting of an anthem and the bands rocking edge, 'A Heart Without A Home' provides the curtain call for 'Louder Than Ever'. It would be fair to say that the album title really doesn't cooperate with this last song as it delights in being a reflective and sombre track showcasing the gentle side of Pretty Maids.
The four new tracks are all good stuff and thoroughly enjoyable. The issue remains regarding these re-recordings. I wonder if there was any talk of releasing an E.P. at any point. That would have felt like a better deal for the fans, but then again those who are ready to buy everything from these guys will really enjoy analysing the newer versions and making comparisons.
'Planet Panic' unleashed in 2002 has three tracks that get a new coat of paint and you'll be able to hunt down originals of the other examples, like 'Psycho-Time-Bomb-Planet-Earth' (which even receives a slightly edited song-title!) and can be found on their 1994 album 'Scream'.
Psycho Time Bomb
My Soul To Take
He Who Never Lived
With These Eyes
Snakes In Eden
Wake Up To The Real World
A Heart Without A Home