Hot off the Press

Pink Cream 69 | Headstrong

by Franco Cerchiari
– Sr. Columnist —

Germany’s Pink Cream 69 are back, with this their 12th studio outing, Headstrong, released on the always great Frontiers Records label. And holy hell, David Readman, and company have released another spectacular slice of Melodic Hard Rock. With the same lineup as was featured on their outstanding 2013 contribution, Ceremonial, fans of Pretty Maids, H.E.A.T., Shakra, Gotthard, Eclipse, and Skansis need to rush out and make this a part of their collections.

David’s forceful, grainy voice is perfect for the Melodic Hard Rock that PC69 is so excellent at dishing out. Without effort, he can shift from the tenor to an almost baritone which was perfect when hearing “The Other Man.” His commanding vocal presence demands to be heard, but not in such a way that it becomes a nuisance or grating. Instead, his voice blends so well with the driving guitar work, fat bass lines, heavy-handed drums, and the melodies that fill each musical bar. The songs were loud, strong, and vigorous. Ballads nicely broke up the flow when needed, but just as quickly as the next song started, Hard Rock came straight toward the listener, making no apologies. All over Headstrong vocal harmonies are the order of the day, and razor sharp guitar solos with heavy guitar chords adeptly kept his voice company. No song needed to be skipped over, not a filler to be heard. No keyboards were heard, that on some band’s releases can make for an even stronger listen, but when hearing Headstrong, it’s a thought that perhaps keyboards would have taken away from the hard, tough edge that this album is all about.

Along with hearing outstanding music, it’s always a great thing that when listening to the lyrics, the story brought on by the words made sense, and added to that song’s importance. The lyrics of Headstrong at times were biting (“Bloodsucker,”) sincere, (“Man of Sorrow,”) and cautionary, (“We Bow To None.”)

The clarity that the Frontiers Records label is so known for is another reason that fans of PC69 need to pick this one up. Listen to the almost Metal vibe of “Walls Came Down,” the insane riffs of “No More Fear,” the drums of “Path of Destiny,” the fat bass guitar licks of “Whistleblower,” and things slow down with the bluesy “Vagrant of the Night.”

This album perfectly echoes what Pink Cream 69 is all about – a band committed to creating songs played with a true desire to bring to their fans their best, along with, amazing musicianship that showed on each song. When the CD faded into black it was a desire to once again start this CD from the beginning. Also part of this release is a second CD that features 9 songs played live, from a 2013 tour that showed just how great PC69 is in concert which made the desire even stronger, the boys of Pink Cream 69 will come to American shores. So many strong points to the live CD, but true standouts included “The Spirit,” “Break the Silence,” “Wasted Years,” “Talk To The Moon,” and a give and take between David Readman and the crowd speaking in his native German as well as in English. While radio will once again prove how horrible they are at making albums like Headstrong part of their playlists, hear this you should.

At the close of each year, the owner/webmaster of Hardrock Haven, John Kindred, asks each of his staff writers to compile a “best of” list. To be honest, this reviewer’s list is getting crowded as it is becoming damn hard to pick out just 10 of 2017’s best. But its gotta be said, Pink Cream 69’s Headstrong may just need to find a place on that list as one of the best of 2017.

Genre: Hard Rock, Melodic Hard Rock

Band Members:
David Readman – vocals
Alfred Koffler – guitar
Uwe Reitanauer – guitar
Dennis Ward – bass
Chris Schmidt – drums

Track Listing:
1. We Bow To None
2. Walls Came Down
3. United and Divide
4. No More Fear
5. Man Of Sorrow
6. Path of Destiny
7. Vagrant of the Night
8. Bloodsucker
9. Whistleblower
10. The Other Man

Bonus Live CD:
1. Special
2. Talk To The Moon
3. Break the Silence
4. Do You Like It Like That
5. The Spirit
6. Livin’ My Life For You
7. Wasted Years
8. Welcome The Night
9. Shame

Label: Frontiers Records

Website: www.pinkcream69.de

Hardrock Haven rating: (9 / 10)

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