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'Louder Than Ever'
(Frontiers Records)
Release Date: 21st March 2014

Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus

pretty maids

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.

Article continues below...

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'.

Playing God
Psycho Time Bomb
My Soul To Take
He Who Never Lived
Virtual Brutality
Tortured Spirit
With These Eyes
Nuclear Boomerang
Snakes In Eden
Wake Up To The Real World
A Heart Without A Home

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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