Written by Alex Stojanovic
When God Took A Day Off
Face The World
Last Beauty On Earth
King Of The Right Here & Now
Heaven's Little Devil
Was That What You Wanted
Release Date: November 4, 2016
Label: Frontiers Records
Ronnie Atkins - Vocals Ken Hammer - Guitars Rene Shades - Bass Allan Tchicaja - Drums Kim Olesen - Keyboards (Session)
The record starts off heavily with back-to-back rounds of heaviness on "When God Took A Day Off" and the title track. The latter is one of the album's heaviest tracks with a neck-destroying groove and insanely catchy vocal melodies, no better combination. I personally feel the title track should've opened the record. The band as a whole is in top form. The thunder from Rene Shades and Allan Tchicaja is monstrous, the riffs and melodies from Ken Hammer are destructive and soulful, but in all honesty, Ronnie Atkins is the star of the album with his unmistakable and unique voice. His stellar performance prooves why he's one of the best in the business. With the incredible range he possesses, I put him up there with Ronnie James Dio, Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford as one of the top 5 metal vocalists of all time.
Metal combined with a pop feel. You either love it or hate it. Several bands have gone down that path, and some have ended up releasing some very uninspired and bland albums, but Pretty Maids is one of the bands that has mastered the art of combining mainstream appeal with heavy crunch and have composed great songs and albums. From epic, soulful ballads, to straightforward crushing rockers, to borderline thrash metal ragers, Kingmaker contains a very healthy balance of all of the above. Tracks like "Face The World" and "Humanize Me" ooze with catchiness and heavier tracks like "King Of The Right Here & Now", "Civilized Monsters" and "Sickening" pound with heavy grooves, while "Last Beauty On Earth" is a soothing mid-tempo ballad.
Simply put, I wouldn't say Kingmaker is the best Pretty Maids album of all time, nor does it top both Pandemonium and Motherland, but it will without a doubt live up to the satisfaction of all Pretty Maids fans out there, and for me, it's one of this year's essential releases and it has secured a spot in my top 10 albums of this year, that's for sure. If you're just getting into Pretty Maids, I hope my testimony about Kingmaker will interest you to check out this album, then go out and buy it and discover more of the band's extensive catalog of great material. I also hope that Pretty Maids come to Canada sometime soon, particularly to Toronto. They are on my bucket list of bands to see. When they come here and whether they'll be headlining or supporting remains to be seen, but I'll be right in that crowd when they do.
Highs: "Kingmaker", "Face The World", "Humanize Me", "King Of The Right Here & Now" and "Civilized Monsters"
Lows: No complaints from me. If you don't like your metal with a pop feel, this album won't appeal to you.