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I would really like an answer to this question please: why have Pretty Maids never achieved the recognition they so deserve? This Danish band has been plugging away at the rock and metal lifestyle since 1981 and, in my opinion, should be huge. I have been a fan since their self-titled EP was released in 1983 and that and many of their albums are regularly played in my abode. In 2010 they released ‘Pandemonium’ and, for some reason, people started to take notice of them again; a wise move considering how good that album was. Fast forward to 2013 and we have new album ‘Motherland’ with many saying it is going to be a difficult job to better ‘Pandemonium’. Well, do you know what? They’ve not only bettered it, they have released the album of their career!

Ronnie Atkins and Ken Hammer may be the only two originals left these days, but their albums have always sounded intrinsically Pretty Maids thanks to the unique Hammer guitar sound and Atkins’ distinctive vocals and that is still very much in evidence. Ronnie’s voice defies logic. He is one of those rare and lucky singers who matures like a fine wine and I don’t think I’ve ever heard him sing better than he does on ‘Motherland’. Ken’s guitar work is out of the top draw and he works extremely well with the outstanding keyboard skills of Morten Sandager, who throws enough shapes and unsettling sounds to really stand out. Allan Tschicaja and newest member Rene Shades, on drums and bass respectively, make a great rhythm section, holding everything together like glue.

Opening track, and lead single, ‘Mother Of All Lies’ is a fantastic way to start the album. It is a melodic heavy rock track with fantastic melodies, a chorus to die for and excellent solo. ‘To Fool A Nation’ is next and, thanks to a quite wonderful guitar and keyboard riff, is probably one of the finest songs I’ve heard this side of ‘The Big Bang’! I’m not a fan of track by track reviews but I’m really having to struggle not to do that for this album. Every song demands attention, lyrically and musically; there really isn’t a weak link here. Producer Jacob Hansen has once again worked his magic, becoming almost a sixth member of the band, such is his contribution. In fact I’m floored by every single aspect of ‘Motherland’. I just cannot quite find the words to tell you how good this is. What I can say, however, is that this album is Pretty Maids’ crowning glory and a defining moment in their career. Bettering this album really is going to be nigh on impossible and I hope to high heaven it grants them every plaudit that should have been bestowed upon them thirty years ago. Sublime!
Frontiers Records
Review by Rick Tilley
22nd March 2013
1) Mother of All Lies; 2) To Fool a Nation
3) Confession; 4) The Iceman
5) Sad to See You Suffer
6) Hooligan
7) Infinity
8) Why So Serious?
9) Motherland
10) I See Ghosts
11) Bullet For You
12) Who What Where When Why
13) Wasted
"Every song demands attention, lyrically and musically; there really isn’t a weak link here."