A new album from the Danish masters is always an occasion to relish as they are one of those bands that always guarantee to deliver the goods. Formed in Horsens in Denmark way back in 1981 by Ronnie Atkins and Ken Hammer, they have since gone on to have a successful and critically acclaimed career especially so with their recent, triumphant albums Pandemonium, Motherland and Kingmaker to which list we can now add Undress Your Madness. In many respects, they have always reminded me of the glorious Magnum as they write such consistently strong material and all is played impeccably but with the power, passion and drive that turns the ordinary into something so special and sublime. Veterans they may be but I believe that the reasonably regular line-up changes have kept the band fresh and relevant with each incoming musician adding to their ever expanding pot of knowledge. As long as the dynamic duo, vocalist Ronnie Atkins (Paul Christensen) and the wonderfully named Ken Hammer (Kenneth Hansen), remain at the core then that essential Pretty Maids spark will remain.
The newest recruits are bassist Rene Shades (Rene Sehic) and on guitarist/keyboards Chris Laney and each blends seamlessly into the team. Drums seem to be courtesy of Allan Sørensen but it was announced in July that he was leaving the band so it may not actually be him and further investigation offers anything more conclusive on this. Undress Your Madness sees a continuation of the their all action, hard and heavy melodic rock that has served them so well and they continue to perform with such a desire and hunger that imbues the music with a raw and vital energy yet is encased in such a glossy veneer. They thrill when they play a power ballad and they do this better than most but they are truly at their best when they crank up the power and enter grandiose mode. Ronnie Atkins defies the years and still has ‘the voice’ that so encapsulates the Pretty Maids trademark sound and is at his majestic best with a mike in his hand and directing proceedings with Ken Hammer being up there with the rest of the guitar gods, what a talent he is!
The Pretty Maids juggernaut simply rolls on as it always has and this is a band that continually provides perfect melodic rock and is idolised by their hordes of fans and it will ever be so. Shortly after the release of this album Ronnie Atkins announced the devastating news that he is being treated for throat cancer, he says the prognosis is good but he has to step away from the music business as he concentrates on his health. We all wish him well so please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.