Pretty Maids

Future World

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    6
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After achieving regional success with their first three records, Danish rockers Pretty Maids released Future World. Fueled by constant airplay on MTV's Headbanger's Ball and fresh off of a Scandinavian tour with Black Sabbath, the band finally had a record that connected with American audiences. The blistering title track boasts a killer guitar riff, a driving rhythm section, and lead vocalist Ronnie Atkins' full-throated Klaus Meine-like snarl. Keyboardist Alan Owen punctuates Ken Hammer's licks with a refreshing urgency that's the direct antithesis of wimpy contemporaries like White Lion and Night Ranger. Even requisite '80s power ballads -- a painful genre unto itself -- like "Love Games" and "Eye of the Storm" sound less contrived than anything that Europe ever recorded. That's not to say that Future World doesn't fall into the same traps that have ensnared past metal bands taking a detour into pop. "We Came to Rock," a diluted facsimile of Ronnie James Dio's superb "We Rock," shrivels beneath inane lyrics like "Can you feel the fever burnin'" -- with a five-second delay on the word "burnin'" -- and showcases the group's weakness for lame rock posturing.

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