UNDRESS THE MADNESS
Released on November 8, 2019 (Frontiers Music Srl)
Undress Your Madness, the 16th studio album by the Pretty Maids, hit the shelves in November 2019. A month earlier, lead vocalist Ronnie Atkins confirmed he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. The chemo and radiation therapy treatment in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, apparently did not solve the problem as in October 2020, Atkins updated that the disease had spread to other organs.
Kneeling on the floor, with the rosary in hand, we await scenes of what is coming up next from the sound of the Danes. The first two tracks from the album immediately show what we’ll encounter during the album. While “Serpentine”, with rather charged lyrics full of accusations and curses, responds to the weight of the instrumental, which includes great guitar work by the duo of Ken Hammer and Chris Laney, the radio-friendly “Firesoul Fly” aims at a more optimistic, motivational approach, with verses that could compose life coaching booklets or commandments of a martial arts dojo.
Partly bringing together the weight of the first track and the theme of the second, the one that gives the album its name adds a confessional tone. “I fell and slipped my whole life through / But never skipped a chance to shine”, sings Atkins, as if it were necessary to reinforce that his talent makes the adversities tremble and shake. The possibility / life expectancy (or rather love) after death sets the tone of the ballad “Will You Still Kiss Me (If I See You in Heaven).” From the fourth century Roman writer Vegécio comes the Latin maxim that gives “If You Want Peace, Prepare for War” its title. However, unlike those who simply post the phrase randomly on their social networks as self-affirmation, Pretty Maids contextualize it, globalize it, anticipating the worst as Atkins states, “You’ll see history repeat itself.” Then, the ultimatum comes: “Ride a world we cannot save.” Fight for what, maaan?
“Slavedriver” focuses on a modernity that old school fans tend to repel. In the sequence, the power ballad “Shadowlands” sounds like the product of decades ago, including the lyrics, which resonate in the commonplace of the reconciliation songs that we never get tired of listening to. After the metallic reverie “Black Thunder”, another ballad “Strength of a Rose” gives the final whistle with a chorus that lights up lighters, lanterns and passions.
Produced by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat) and recorded in three different studios in Denmark, Undress Your Madness maintains the victorious edge of its predecessors – Pandemonium (2010) and Motherland (2013) – guaranteeing the permanence of Pretty Maids in Frontiers Records‘ continuing “series” of records and demanding maximum listening volume. “Get on your wings and ride like a king.” Oh yeah!
03. Firesoul Fly
04. Undress Your Madness
05. Will You Still Kiss Me (If I See You In Heaven)
06. Runaway World
07. If You Want Peace (Prepare For War)
10. Black Thunder
11. Strength of A Rose
Ronnie Atkins – lead vocals
Ken Hammer – guitar
Rene Shades – bassist
Allan Sørensen – drums
Chris Laney – keyboards
Produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen
Pretty Maids‘ “Serpentine” video:
Pretty Maids‘ “Will You Still Kiss Me (If I See You In Heaven)” video: