Muthafuckinsonofabitch! This hit the damn mark and no messin'. Pink Cream 69 has been around for years now with nary a word said against 'em and I can see why because this album is fucking great.
And check this out; Pink Cream 69's 'Ceremonial' album is ranked 620th on Amazon music and 19th in Amazon's Hard Rock & Metal/Hard Rock category and it ain't even been released yet, at the time of writing of course. How fucking cool is that?
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First thing that should be said is David Readman's vocals are immense. Mercifully avoiding trying to shatter glass, his voice has a similar timbre to the likes of Jorn Lande, coming as it does out of the Coverdalesque blues territories before the yanks got their claws into him. The rest of the band match him knock for knock and together they show the rest of the planet just how a solid melodic rock album should be done.
What makes 'Ceremonial' so good is the way they let rip but keep the histrionics in check, so there is plenty of rip snorting playing but the band keeps it tighter than a virgins snatch on a first date. The production is exceptional and on initial listen 'Ceremonial' will come across as lush AOR but give it your full attention and you should find that it is actually quite raw, almost as if it's been played live in the studio.
You will note that originality is not 'Ceremonial's' strong point but when the sparkling life affirming melodic rock is done this well then that really just becomes a none-issue. Be warned, however, it will have you scratching your head trying to remember where you heard some of it before and it's isn't just the rock canon that's been plundered either (step forward 'Wasted Years').
However, what matters is that Pink Cream 69 has dropped an album, its eleventh, in our collective laps that will grab you by the grits and give them a hell of a yank. 'Ceremonial' is balanced and though nowhere near as Teutonic sounding as it could, it still possesses the drive.
Although the general sleazy groove is kept the album does still offer variety, light and shade. With the ballads thankfully kept to a minimum the album slowly swings from heavy rock album until by the end you are listen to stuff that could be better described as the heavier side of Americana (yes I know they are German!) of the sort that a latter day laid back Van Halen dabbled in occasionally. The album really kicks in when it rocks out. The aforementioned 'Wasted Years', the Whitesnake riffed 'Big Machine' and the Halenesque 'I Came To Rock' are all prime examples of a rock band that has aged and matured exceptionally well.
Downsides to the upside groove? The ploddy first track, 'Land Of Confusion' with its eastern promise intro thing, does not kick the album off as it should. It's solid and weighty enough but it is too cautious, giving 'Ceremonial' a faltering start that suggests the album's carburettor hasn't been set up quite right.
And that pretty sums this album up. It runs great but still requires a few extra tweaks to get it running just so. So whilst 'Ceremonial' might just fall short of being a killer album, it still remains an absolutely heavenly clatter around the lugs; rock 'n' roll done the the way a lot of bands wish they could.
There has been a renaissance of melodic rock forecast for 2013 with a lot of the genres big hitter's fortunes resurgent of late. Yet, whilst Pink Cream 69 will never fill arenas or their albums become overnight mega hits, there is no reason why they shouldn't be up there shoulder to shoulder with the Europes, Giants and Night Rangers of this world.