Review Summary: Pink Cream 69 has become a streamlined, straight forward rock band. If this frightens you, please do not continue reading.
If you have been craving some new Pin Cream 69 tunes in the past six years, then look no further than Ceremonial to get your much-needed fix. Combining all of the elements which make this German-based band such a rare commodity of pure melodic class and rock n roll, Ceremonial takes the listener on a journey which spans twenty odd years since the group’s birth in the late 80’s. Any fan of the band or even good melodic rock would be wise to not pass this baby up!
Unfortunately Ceremonial starts out rocky from the start. ‘Land of Confusion’ does not hold a candle to what PC69 is capable of. In fact, I believe this to be one of the worst songs the group has ever written, including the abysmal ‘Fly On’ off ‘Food for Thought’. But thankfully, the band regain their footing on the second track and launch into a tasty number titled, ‘Wasted Years’ which is not a Maiden cover. This is the song that should have led the charge of the album; instead it makes ‘Land of Confusion’ sound silly and awkward which it already was anyway. Lead single ‘Special’ erupts from the speakers with a quality riff and a head-bobbing attitude accompanied with a killer chorus. It should be mentioned here that vocalist David Readman has lost nothing over the course of time. Instead of sounding forced and tired, he sounds absolutely invigorated and ready to tear through each and every song. Somebody should really go looking for that fountain of youth he has stashed somewhere in his house.
‘Find Your Soul’ provides unnecessary filler which is quite unfortunate seeing that Ceremonial opened with filler. But four minutes later, ‘The Tide’ washes to shore and gives us the best power ballad PC69 has ever recorded. The verses are crooned in a heartfelt manner and the chorus is just a slice of heaven recorded in a studio. ‘Big Machine’ rocks the listener back into reality, boasting some aggressive vocals from Readman and some great drumming from newcomer, Chris Schmidt. The chorus of ‘Big Machine’ does not carry the energy of the verses but the song still manages to keep its head above filler water. ‘Let the Thunder Roll’ suffers from the same affliction as ‘Big Machine’. Both have fine verses but drop to their knees with a weak and uninteresting chorus. This shocks me a bit seeing as PC69 is world renowned for prompting some of the finest refrains in Germany! ‘Right from Wrong’, ‘Passage of Time’, and ‘I Came to Rock’ are all solid rocking tunes with their own little stylistic flares to be heard, but it is in the quasi-ballad ‘King for a Day’ where PC69 shines again like no other. Finally, the band gives us a much needed strong chorus alongside faithful vocals and great guitars from the combined efforts of Alfred Koffler and Uwe Reitenauer. ‘Superman’ closes the album on somewhat of an uneven note but is still strong enough of a song to be appearing on a PC69 record.
In10sity of six years prior hit me harder than Ceremonial. There is no denying that this time around, the band fiddled with a more refined rock sound than a metal sound. Such experimentation is fine but the band seems out of place playing straight forward rock numbers instead of the hyper style melodic rock and metal which flowed from efforts like Electrified and Thunderdome. But this is a solid album and an effort fans will consider simply ‘good’ but nothing more. Coming from a fan that has waited six years for Ceremonial to finally arrive, I cannot help but feel a little disappointed but still satisfied nonetheless. I came for a PC69 fix and that’s exactly what I got; nothing more, nothing less. Plus a silver lining can be found here; namely the new Voodoo Circle album released soon with none other than David Readman supplying the vocals. All in all, I believe what Ceremonial dropped, Voodoo Circle’s More Than One Way Home will carefully piece back together.