Pretty Maids – It Comes Alive Review

ow Pretty Maids aren’t at the level of success of Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, or Poison completely baffles me. Barring the band’s name itself (the general consensus when I...

Released by: Frontiers Records

Release Date: March 23rd, 2012

Genre: Melodic Hard Rock



Line Up:

Ronnie Atkins – vocals

Ken Hammer – guitars

Morten Sandager – keyboards

Rene Shades – bass

Allan Tschicaja – drums



01. Pandemonium

02. INVU

03. Hell On High Heels

04. Wake Up To The Real World

05. Destination Paradise

06. Another Shot

07. Scream

08. Walk Away

09. It Comes At Night

10. Queen Of Dreams

11. Savage Heart

12. Clay

13. Yellow Rain

14. Rock The House

15. Back To Back

16. Rodeo

17. Love Games

18. Future World

19. Little Drops Of Heaven

20. Please Don’t Leave Me

21. Red Hot And Heavy


Pretty Maids is one of the greatest bands ever, and chances are good you’ve never heard of them. If you’re one of the few who do know them, you already know how lucky you are. I consider this band to be one of four that are horribly overlooked in the U.S. The other three are Talisman, Thunder, and Harem Scarem. Sure, there are other groups out there that are far more deserving of the recognition than they receive compared to 99.9% of the top 40 garbage, but all four of these bands are the most extreme examples of groups not huge phenom’s around the world. And frankly, I think Pretty Maids is the band that tops that list.

How Pretty Maids aren’t at the level of success of Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, or Poison completely baffles me. Barring the band’s name itself (the general consensus when I tell my friends about them is that the band’s name is terrible,) you will find no group that has more consistently released incredible music from their first album to their most recent. They have a catalog filled with catchy and powerful songs, chock full of melody yet with a hard edge not found in the above mentioned mega-bands. Musically you will find no pairing that meshes as well as the ever constant core of Ronnie Atkins and Ken Hammer. With Atkins you have a singer able to sing some of the most beautiful lines you can imagine then go into a growl that is intense, but not so grating as to detract from the songs. Match that with the guitar prowess of Hammer and you’ve got a musical duo that ranks as high as any other (I’m looking at you Lennon/McCartney, Jagger/Richards, Perry/Tyler.)

While listening to their latest release, an incredible career spanning live opus entitled It Comes Alive, I hear these astounding songs like “Hell On High Heels,” “Walk Away, “Yellow Rain, “Future World,” and “Savage Heart” and I ponder many things. For starters, I would stand any of their songs up against any of the big hits of Bon Jovi and Def Leppard and will state clearly that there’s no competition. Pretty Maids has catchy songs full of more hooks, fantastic vocals, sing-along chorus’ than both those bands combined.

They can go from the hardest of rockers like “Red Hot and Heavy” to the sweetest of ballads with “Savage Heart” without missing a beat or losing the listener. And unlike both Bon Jovi and Def Leppard, and this is made obvious listening to It Comes Alive, that after 30 years in the business they haven’t changed what they do one iota yet remained true to their sound. Not to pick on either of those other bands, but they have some serious clunkers in their catalogs respectively. I also have no personal beef with either Jovi or Leppard, I consider myself a fan of most of their material, but they’re still able to do big tours and sell records, while Pretty Maids is more or less unheard of after slogging away for three decades. I’m sorry, but what the hell is wrong with people?

If it’s not clear that I am a rabid fan, I’ll just say it straight out: I have loved these guys for many years now. I remember just like it was yesterday the first time their video for “Future World” came on to The Headbanger’s Ball on MTV. The blazing guitar lick and the galloping keyboard melody had me from the first few seconds. I immediately got the tape and played it repeatedly. Sadly, due to the fact that they barely made an impact on the scene, I didn’t know they had albums prior, nor was able to keep up with them until much later on. I played that tape so much it eventually wore out. I couldn’t believe I was inundated with Poison videos/songs seemingly every ten minutes, while Pretty Maids continued to release top notch albums and I had no clue (just to be clear, I’m not much of a Poison fan.)

It Comes Alive showed me beyond a shadow of a doubt that not only do the songs stand the test of time, but their actual performances are just as powerful and fresh as if they were a new band. And despite the fact that they’re not as huge as they should be, they have a rabid following as evidenced by the audience participation. Ronnie directs the crowd to sing along, and from the word go the crowd is fully into it. He’s not forced to do the “I can’t hear you” shtick so many bands have to do to get the crowd going. The crowd is already singing along! This is something I always found touching on their past live albums as well. And the band feeds off of the crowd’s love and admiration for the band. This CD is so incredible you almost feel like you’re in the crowd as well, singing along, even though you’re in your car driving to work.

I realize that live albums aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. I respect that. I don’t listen to live albums as much as I used to. However, Pretty Maids live CD’s are too incredible to miss. And I don’t think there was much (if any) touch-up work done on this album, as typically happens with live recordings, which makes me love them more and lament greater the fact that Justin Bieber is a top selling act, and Pretty Maids will be playing only one time in the U.S. later this year for ProgPower. And I’m actually considering plunking down the $144 just to see these guys live. It may be the only chance I get, as there have been rumblings that they’re considering calling it a day. I certainly hope these are just rumors as the world will be a sadder place without them adding new music to it.


Written by Chris

Ratings    Chris    10/10

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