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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Quick-Reviews: Bon Jovi & Pretty Maids

Hey folks,

first of all I wish you guys a Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed the time with your loved ones.
After a long break (I think 3 months) I finally found the time to write some new stuff here. I posted my review to the forthcoming GOTTHARD album some hours ago and now I'd like to write something down to two major releases from the end of last year:

- BON JOVI - "This House Is Not For Sale"
- PRETTY MAIDS - "Kingmaker"



BON JOVI - "This House Is Not For Sale"


I never thought I could say this of another Bon Jovi record, but my prayers have been heard: "This House Is Not For Sale" is finally a return to old strength, which means it has a more rockin' sound (no ballad overkill here), better lyrics and most of all much better songs to offer than on the previous two lowlights "What About Now" and "Burning Bridges". THINFS is still no second Slippery or New Jersey, but the quality of songwriting is pretty good this time around and it's also really varied. Sometimes it felt like a Best Of. With the title track we have this kind of Have A Nice Day song, than we have some amazing melodic jewels with "Living With The Ghost" (great guitarline here) "Rollercoaster" and "New Year's Day", followed by a pretty cool (Hard) Rock number, called "Devil's In The Temple" and a more country influenced song, called "Reunion", that seems to be adressed to former Bon Jovi guitarplayer Richie Sambora. Yeah and also the ballads have their right to exist: "Scars On This Guitar" and "Come On Up To Hour House" have this kind of 90's Bon Jovi vibe in them and are fun to listen to. Even the piano ballad "Real Love" is somehow hunting.

Beside all those good songs, Jon Bon Jovi delivers his best vocal performance in years on this album. I still miss the harmonies between him and Richie Sambora. Those would have made some songs even more outstanding and magical. Phil X does a very solid job on guitars, Tico Torres has a bit more work to do and doesn't sound like a drum computer anymore, although the production from John Shanks is still very polished. But I appreciate the fact, that the guitars dominate the sound a bit more than on previous records.


Finally I just can say that "This House Is Not For Sale" restored my faith in this band. With a tracklist of 18 songs I only found ONE filler ("I Will Drive You Home"). The rest is enjoyable Rock music with more soul than on the previous two records combined. It's a step into the right direction and I can't wait for things to come ... and finally a reunion with Richie Sambora someday. RATING: 8/10



PRETTY MAIDS - "Kingmaker"


Here we have another heavyweight: some more "Danish Dynamite" from the guys of Pretty Maids. "Kingmaker" proves once more that no other band has the ability to combine edgy heaviness with sing-along melodies without sounding cheesy in such a natural way Pretty Maids do. "Kingmaker" follows the path of the previous two records "Pandemonium" and "Motherland", but has a more heavy sound. The mixture of songs is once more really good. The darker, more modern tunes like the opener "If Good Took A Day Off" and the title track give a very good contrast to awesome, more melodic driven earworms like "Bull's Eye", "Last Beauty On Earth", "Civilized Monsters" and "Face The World". The latter is one of the best songs this band has ever written and it is my personal song of the year in 2016!

Like on every album before you need a few spins to get involved with every single song and the last two tracks can't hold the very high level of previous tracks, but that's nagging on a very high level. Speaking about performances, Ronnie Atkins is one hell of a singer and one of the best we have in Metal right now. I don't know how it works, but his voice gets better and better with age. Also Ken Hammer delivers some suberb guitarsolos that stick in your head for weeks. The overall production by Jacob Hansen is once more outstanding and takes this record to another level. It's easily one - if not THE - best sounding record in 2016.

The bottom line is that "Kingmaker" belongs in every Hard Rock/Heavy Metal collection. The second spring of these Danish guys continues with an album that is full of rich melodies, combined with a healthy dose of heaviness. You've got to check this out! RATING: 9/10

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