You can fairly safely say that you know what you are going to get with Pretty Maids. The Danish hard rock/metal outfit have been around for an awful long time now, and they have never strayed too far from the formula that has kept them going all this time.
Pandemonium throws up few surprises – machine gun riffs, fast solos, power ballads; the whole gamut of hard rock excess is here. The good news is that this is one of the freshest offerings that the band have come up with in quite some time. The playing is tight, the hooks are catchy and the production is crisp. The title track delivers a high octane introduction, "Cielo Drive" is a crisp and punchy number, and "It Comes at Night" features a neat selection of throbbing riffs that shift effectively through the gears as the song goes on. It isn't all plain sailing though – "Little Drops of Heaven", "The Last days of Innocence" and "Breathless" are all rather clunky power ballads of the most awkward order.
The instrumentation has been treated modern sounding production, and has the occasional sample or current flourish, such as Obama snippets in the opening and a vaguely trance-like throbbing that sets the foundation for "Little Drops of Heaven" – all of which sounds like it is designed to make the album palatable to modern tastes.
None of this, however, succeeds in hiding the fact that this is a band that hasn't really moved on hugely in decades. "Dated", is a much overused and unfair way of deriding any piece of creative work. Nevertheless, Pandemonium isn't an offering that challenges the listener in any meaningful way – it is very much the same old story. Some may be happy with what is on offer here, but for many there may be a lingering sense that things have moved on, and that Pretty Maids haven't necessarily kept up.
3. Little Drops of Heaven
4. One World One Truth
5. Final Day of Innocence
6. Cielo Drive
7. It Comes at Night
8. Old Enough to Know
9. Beautiful Madness