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Melodic Round-up: March 2013

Dave Ling on new releases from Pink Cream 69, Rage Of Angels, Crashdïet, Wheels Of Fire and Hinder

Pink Cream 69: Ceremonial

Melodic metallers Pink Cream 69 have kept fans waiting for a full half-decade since In10sity, their 10th studio release of a two-decade career. This delay is attributable to solo projects and Texan-born bassist Dennis Ward’s blossoming reputation as a producer. So is Ceremonial worth the wait? You betcha! Few bands are capable of straddling the hard rock/AOR divide with such grace. Having a bloody good singer helps, of course, and David Readman has flourished in the role since Andi Deris departed for Helloween in the mid-1990s. Perhaps reflecting upon PC69’s prolonged absence, Wasted Years is an uplifting celebration of future possibilities, a lyrical theme rammed home with special. There’s an easy-going likability to songs such as The Tide and Passage Of Time, while harder-edged fare like Big Machine, Right Or Wrong and the lighters-in-the-air I Came To Rock pull things in the opposite direction. The bottom line is that Pink Cream 69, one of the Euro scene’s most consistent performers, have done it again. Maybe it’s time the UK gave them a serious listen? (810)

Rage Of Angels: Dreamworld

Rather worryingly, the quality of melodic hard-rock albums now appears to be gauged above all by their volume of guest performers. Ex-Ten keyboardist Ged Rylands may have enticed such luminaries as Danny Vaughn, Matti Alfonzetti, Harry Hess and others into joining him with Rage Of Angels, but the true focus here remains on quality songs that have a truly epic feel. (810)

Crashdïet: The Savage Playground

If ambition and front alone could guarantee success then Crashdïet would already be Wembley Arena headliners. The rowdy Swedes make a big, sleazy noise on The Savage Playground, their fourth album. It houses plenty of robust Skid Row-style choruses, though as usual, there are some debilitating consistency issues to overcome. (610)

Wheels Of Fire: Up For Anything

These Italians clearly still love the hard rock of the 1980s. On this album, the follow-up to 2010 debut Hollywood Rocks, the five-piece are boosted by a support team that includes Alessandro Del Vecchio of Lionville fame, with vocals from House Of Lords singer James Christian (who duets with Davide Barbieri on Don’t Walk Away), and it sees the band taking some large creative strides. (710)

Hinder: Welcome To The Freakshow

With song titles such as Ladies Come First and a style that could scarcely be described as pioneering, it’s easy to perceive Hinder as being shallow and/or predictable on this album. In reality, the Oklahoma foursome are simply easily distracted, veering from a staple path of hair rock into pop, metal and even country territory. (510)