Written by Alex Stojanovic
Undress Your Madness
Will You Still Kiss Me (If I See You In Heaven)
If You Want Peace (Prepare For War)
Strength Of A Rose
Release Date: November 8, 2019
Label: Frontiers Records
Ronnie Atkins - Vocals / Ken Hammer - Guitars / Rene Shades - Bass
Chris Laney - Keyboards & guitars / Allan Sorensen - Drums
The band are now ending the decade with the release of their fifteenth studio album Undress Your Madness, and it's another good one. Before we get into the review, it should also be noted that just a week ago, it was shockingly revealed that Ronnie Atkins was diagnosed with lung cancer. We all send our best wishes to Ronnie as he goes through his treatments, and hope that he pulls through and comes out of it stronger than ever. The man is one of the most underrated singers with such a unique voice. He is up there with Klaus Meine, Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford and Ronnie James Dio in terms of some of the best singers in the world, and singers that have developed such unique voices.
Going back to the album, all I can say is that if you were a fan of the last three albums, you shouldn't really expect anything different on Undress Your Madness because it's full of hooks of biblical proportions, there's a crushing guitar tone, and vocals that are compelling, melodic and vicious. There isn't a song on here that won't get your head bobbing or foot tapping. Ronnie Atkins and Ken Hammer make one of the strongest songwriting teams out there. They are masters at the art of creating riffs, melodies and hooks that are going to stick in your head and stay there.
In terms of heavy hitters, the album is full of them, like "Undress Your Madness", "Runaway World", "If You Want Peace (Prepare For War)" and "Black Thunder", all containing huge grooves and those huge Ken Hammer riffs that hit you like a sledgehammer, and get you moving whether you want to or not. Having Jacob Hansen behind the board ever since Pandemonium is one of the other things that had a tremendous impact on the band getting a lot of their recognition and attention back. If you listen to any record that Hansen is involved with, it always has a crushing and thick guitar tone, and monstrous sounding drums.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Pretty Maids album without a few ballads and more melodic rockers. Examples of the ballads include "Will You Still Kiss Me (If I See You In Heaven)" and "Strength Of A Rose". The former would be my favourite of the two. The melodic rockers include "Firesoul Fly" and "Shadowlands". The latter contains what is quite possibly the hookiest chorus on the entire album, right next to the chorus in "Runaway World". I found myself having those choruses on repeat for a while. The only flaw with the album is that I feel that "Serpentine" is missing the compelling factor to make it a fantastic opener. Don't get me wrong, it certainly has a catchy riff, but the chorus lacks that great hook that I was kind of hoping for when I first heard the track. I think the title track would've served as the better opener, because it's catchy, aggressive and compelling.
Undress Your Madness is simply another great addition to Pretty Maids' winning streak of great albums ever since getting back on track with Pandemonium. Being that this the fifth overall album to be produced by Jacob Hansen, I can see them continuing to record with him on future albums. Once again, we want to send our best to Ronnie in his cancer battle and hope for the best, because we cannot lose him just yet. Godspeed, Ronnie! All of the band's shows for the remainder of this year have been postponed until further notice, but in the meantime, pick up Undress Your Madness when it drops, and be sure to crank it LOUD!
Highs: "Undress Your Madness", "Runaway World", "Shadowlands"
Lows: "Serpentine" lacks the compelling factor that makes it a great opener.
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