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Pink Cream 69: Ceremonial

That damn name. If I could tell you how many people have looked at me with a WTF expression after I suggest they check out a band called Pink Cream 69 (And I've been suggesting people check out these guys for years, usually adding that this is not some cock-rock retread, but rather one of the finest melodic hard rock bands of our generation.)

In fact, PC69 seems to be improving with every album. The German band's 11th disc bulges with hard-rock swagger: staggering hooks, explosive melodies, robust background vocals and bold lyrics. PC69 hasn't lost a step between 2007's In10sity and Ceremonial, as the epic opening cut "Land of Confusion" proves. That is followed by the propulsive and contemporary "Wasted Years" and the fast 'n' sexy "Special" (designated as the first single in Europe). The mellow guitar intro on "Passage of Time" is reflective of music played ubiquitously on rock radio in the mid-1990s, while "King for One Day" would have been a hit on rock radio a decade earlier. "Follow Your Soul" reveals the band's psychedelic colors, "Right from Wrong" with its distorted vocals and fists-in-the-air chorus could be a modern-day Bon Jovi song, and "I Came to Rock" lives up to its promise and ranks among the album's heaviest tracks. There is no full-blown ballad among these dozen songs, and only "The Tide" even comes close.

Bassist and producer Dennis Ward has said the band "deliberately called the album Ceremonial because we feel it's kind of a celebration of music styles we all grew up with, regardless of what PC69 has done in the past." But to a certain degree, Ceremonial relies on some of the same musical ideas that made In10sity and 2004's Thunderdome so potent. On the other hand, the band also takes some gutsy chances by updating its sound. Pink Cream 69 didn't make tweaks just for the hell of it, but a few changes here and there don't hurt; frankly, they were necessary to ensure the band's musically healthy evolution.

That said, David Readman remains one of the finest vocalists in hard rock, and Ward one of the genre's classiest producers. Dual guitarists Uwe Reitenauer and Alfred Koffler give PC69 a full, thick sound, and new drummer Chris Schmidt fits in perfectly, propelling these songs with style and flair.

Is Ceremonial superior to its most immediate predecessors? (Keep in mind that I've probably played In10sity more times during the past five years than other hard-rock record released during that same time span.) More spins are required before passing definitive judgment, but this is an early a very early contender for hard-rock album of 2013.

Track Listing:
1) Land of Confusion
2) Wasted Years
3) Special
4) Find Your Soul
5) The Tide
6) Big Machine
7) Let the Thunder Roll
8) Right From Wrong
9) Passage of Time
10) I Came to Rock
11) King for One Day
12) Superman

Added: February 17th 2013
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Pink Cream 69 Website
Hits: 4276
Language: english

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Pink Cream 69: Ceremonial
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-02-17 17:27:29
My Score:

Six years on from their last studio effort and it would be fair to suggest that what with bassist Dennis Ward being possibly the most in demand producer, mixer and masterer in melodic rock right now, people had rightly begun to wonder if we were likely to hear from German MHR outfit Pink Cream 69 again. However back they are, with Ward, singer David Readman, guitarists Alfred Koffler, and Uwe Reitenauer being joined by new drummer Chris Schmidt, his predecessor Kosta Zafiriou having departed to concentrate on management and his other band Unisonic.

So has just over half a decade altered the PC69 take on hard hitting melodic rock? Well thankfully yes and thankfully no! With the band's eleventh studio offering still being immediately recognisable, while stubbornly refusing to fall into carbon-copy territory. To call Ceremonial less polished would make it sound rough and ready and with Ward knob twiddling you know that can't be the case. However compared to much MHR out there right now, this album sounds reassuringly hefty in its delivery, with a powerful guitar and bass grunt combining with the soaring Readman vocals we've come to expect. Stomping into view "Land Of Confusion" pumps this album into life in a determined mid-paced manner, revealing a hint of a heavier more brooding attack than you might expect. From there "Wasted Years" ups the tempo bringing a more familiar PC69 smile to your face, with the likes of "Big Machine" and "I Came To Rock" following a similar satisfying path. "Find Your Soul" hits in a more Tyketto like style, Schmidt roaming round the kit with authority, as a poised guitar motif draws you in, while the vocal seduces and soothes, still possessing power and authority as it does so. Closing number "Superman" adds a cocksure swaggering funky edge to the mix and the less immediate "Let The Thunder Roll" marries a sing along chorus to an altogether more sophisticated and intricate verse.

A good word for what Pink Cream 69 have served up with Ceremonial would be gentle evolution, revealing a band that sound and feel extremely comfortable with who they are. Long term 69'ers are going to love this album, while I suggest that if you've never sampled the Pink Cream pie before this would be the perfect place to start.

Pink Cream 69: Ceremonial
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-01-21 08:26:33
My Score:

Unlike my longtime colleague here at SoT Mike Popke, I've never listened to a stitch of music from Pink Cream 69, which I might add, I'm rather embarrased about. As a lover of classic, melodic hard rock, I've often been told that these guys were right up my alley, but for some reason the band and I just always seemed to avoid each other. Until now that is. Their latest release on Frontiers Records Ceremonial is good, damn good actually, containing some stellar vocals from David Readman (who I also quite enjoy in the excellent Voodoo Circle) and plenty of muscular riffs, sizzling solos, and catchy hard rock hooks. "Special" reminds me a little of Jorn, the great Norwegian band fronted by vocalist Jorn Lande, and other songs like "Find Your Soul", 'Land of Confusion", and "Big Machine" also have a similar feel thanks to the soaring vocals, kick ass riffs, and memorable melodies. Even the ballads are hard to resist, making Ceremonial an all around great package.

Yes, I can safely say now that I've sucked into the music of Pink Cream 69, and though I also have to agree that their name is a head scratcher, the music more than makes one forget about their puzzling moniker.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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