Pretty Maids is a Danish hard rock/heavy metal band from Horsens, Denmark.
Formed in 1981 by Ronnie Atkins and Ken Hammer, their sound and music can be described as classic guitar-laden heavy rock with a strong emphasis on melodic elements like vocals and keyboards.
This was originally intended only as a cover band, but published in 1982 a demo tape with their own songs.
The band got a record deal in England with an underground label, where the English-sounding pseudonyms come from.
1984 appeared the first album Red, Hot and Heavy.
The band has already released 13 studio albums in their more than 30 years of production.
After a prolonged international touring hiatus before the release of the 2006 Wake Up to the Real World album, the band have every year since been touring their primary markets of Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Spain.
On January 10, 2013, Tobias Sammet announced that Ronnie Atkins will be heard on the sixth album of Avantasia - The Mystery Of Time.
Ronnie Atkins sings together with Tobias Sammet the song Invoke The Machine, which was put on the Internet on February 27th
On February 28, Tobias Sammet announced that Ronnie Atkins will accompany Avantasia on the tour.
Between April and August, the The Mystery World Tour brought the band to Germany, England, Japan, Switzerland, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, etc. In 2014, they performed at the Wacken Open Air.
In March 2014, Pretty Maids released their 13th studio album Louder Than Ever.
The History of Pretty Maids:
Pretty Maids were formed in 1981 by friends Ken Hammer and Ronnie Atkins in Horsens, Denmark.
They were initially a cover band first named Pretty Pretty Panick, but soon started writing their own material and a self-financed demo resulted in a deal with the English record label Bullet Records.
Pretty Maids released their debut self-titled EP under the name Pretty Maids, recognition was fuelled by great reaction to their UK tour the same year.
Inevitably the band outgrew their label.
signed to CBS Records, who remixed and re-released their self-titled EP with a different cover.
Pretty Maids released their debut studio album, Red, Hot and Heavy, which was a success.
More acclaim followed with their second studio album, Future World, released in 1987.
It was recorded in New York City with renowned producer Eddie Kramer.
The album is considered to define the band's sound, with typically aggressive rockers alongside more commercial, melodic moments.
Follow up Jump the Gun, produced by Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover, offered more of the same catchy riffs.
The record label had put in all efforts to break the charts worldwide with this record, but it never took off, except in Japan. Whether it was lack of hits, marketing or they were simply another victim of grunge music is unknown, but the record didn't live up to expectations.
Pretty Maids more or less broke up after the lack of success with this record, leaving only founding members Ron Atkins and Ken Hammer.
They would not quit so recruited drummer Michael Fast and bass player Kenn Jackson, and went on to record Sin-Decade in 1992 with famed Metallica producer Flemming Rasmussen at the buttons.
The album produced the hit single Please Don't Leave Me which opened Pretty Maids up to an even wider audience of dongers.
Pretty Maids did very well in Japan in the first half of the 90s and have a large fanbase there.
The Asian audience has a special craving for Pretty Maids ballads and more soft repertoire.
However Pretty Maids really surprised the fans and critics by releasing the storming Scream.
This was an altogether heavier and guitar-lead approach which gained numerous plaudits and saw the band release their first live album, Screamin' Live.
The follow-up Spooked, released in 1997, was regarded by many as an instant classic, maintaining the energy and heaviness of Scream whilst still capturing the quintessential melody that is Pretty Maids.
Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Overdoing, whilst certainly having an overdone album title, also produced one of the songs of the year with Hell on High Heels, an absolute monster of commercial, hard driving rock.
The Danish heavy rockers released the album Carpe Diem.
A touch more melodic than their previous offerings a fact that hasn't gone down too well with certain factions of their fanbase, but this is still a classic album which has all the Pretty Maids trademarks in abundance.
Pretty Maids released the album Planet Panic which was a trip back to the heavier sides of their catalogue.
Their management company Rock On went bankrupt due to some very unwise business moves in September 2002.
This left Pretty Maids in a very bad financial situation and also left them with a lot of legal problems as well as lot of business and copyright mess.
Lead guitarist Ken Hammer was struck by a heart attack on December 6, 2003. He has since recovered completely and has been on stage numerous times since the incident.
The drummer Michael Fast, decided to leave before the recording of Wake Up to the Real World an album that was originally intended to be released in 2005, but the initial recordings was postponed to the summer of 2006.
In April 2006, new drummer Allan Tschicaja from Royal Hunt and Kingdom Come was announced as Michael Fast's replacement.
In 2006, Morten Sandager ex-Mercenary joined Pretty Maids, playing the keyboards.
May, 2010 Pretty Maids released their twelfth studio album, Pandemonium, through Frontiers Records, which was named one of their best albums citation needed.
In April 2010, Pretty Maids announced that they have parted ways with bass player Kenn Jackson.
In May 2010, it was announced that American bass player Hal Patino formerly of King Diamond had replaced Jackson. Patino announced in April 2011 that he had left Pretty Maids.
Celebrating their 30th anniversary, Pretty Maids played a concert at Tivoli, Copenhagen, which featured Rene Shades [Mike Tramp] on bass.
Rene Shades has replaced Hal Patino.
On September 15, 2012, Pretty Maids played in the USA for the first time in the Progressive festival ProgPower.
Pretty Maids released their thirteenth studio album Motherland on March 22 in Europe and on March 26 in North America through Frontiers Records.
Ronnie Atkins has called it the band's best album song by song.
In December 2015, Pretty Maids announced that their fifteenth studio album is set to be released in 2016.
In February 2016, Pretty Maids announced that keyboard player Morten Sandager had left the band.
In September 2016, Pretty Maids announced that Chris Laney has joined the band, playing keyboards and guitars.
Pretty Maids released their fifteenth studio album Kingmaker on November 4, 2016 through Frontiers Records.
On May 1, 2017 it was announced that drummer Allan Tschicaja had left the band.
In a statement he said: It’s been a difficult decision for me, but I want to focus more on family, friends and other projects.
He was replaced by Allan Sørensen on May 9, 2017, where he played for the first time with Pretty Maids on their opening slot for Kiss in Horsens, Denmark.
Nordic Union is the musical project combining the talents of Ronnie Atkins of Pretty Maids (Denmark) with Erik Martensson of Eclipse (Sweden).
NORDIC UNION is the successful collaboration, built by Frontiers President Serafino Perugino, between singer Ronnie Atkins of the legendary Danish hard rock institution PRETTY MAIDS and the up-and-coming Swedish songwriter and producer Erik Martensson of ECLIPSE and W.E.T. fame.
The partnership between the two Scandinavians came about sometime in 2015 when Atkins was sent a bunch of demos put together for him by Martensson.
The enthusiastic reaction from Atkins sparked a brand new musical alliance that culminated in Nordic Union’s self-titled debut album, which was released in January 2016.
Musically, the duo presented a hybrid of the more melodic aspects of Pretty Maids’ sound mixed with elements of Eclipse, Talisman, and W.E.T. while still possessing it's own identity.
Following requests, more like demands, from fans for a follow up to the debut, the two musicians decided to give Nordic Union another go. In 2028 Second Coming was released.
Every aspect of the album screams qualitty.
The songwriting is of the highest standards, the musicianship faultless, and the production top notch, crisp, and clear as a bell.
Ronnie Atkins continues to improve with time as he definitively demonstrates throughout the album that he knows how to use his voice effectively at any given point in a song. And, of course, Erik Martensson's songwriting, guitar playing, and production abilities are now legendary based on his growing body of undeniable work with the likes of Eclipse, W.E.T. Ammunition, and more.
Erik's immense talent is on display here as he handles the lead and rhythm guitars, bass, keyboards and backing vocals.
He recruited his Eclipse and W.E.T. bandmate Magnus Ulfstedt to handle drums, whom delivers a stellar performance, as usual.
Heavy riffs, soaring vocals, thumping beats, and a grand ballad this album has it all and flows perfectly with songs that are memorable, rocking, and of course, melodic.
Prepare to delight your ears with a killer new album from the sensational Nordic musical alliance known as Nordic Union!
Nordic Union band Members:
Ronnie Atkins - Lead & Backing Vocals
Erik Martensson - Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Keyboards and Backing Vocals
Magnus Ulfstedt - Drums