Pink Cream 69

1. Land of Confusion
2. Wasted Years
3. Special
4. Find Your Soul
5. The Tide
6. Big Machine
7. Let the Thunder Roll
8. Right or Wrong
9. Passage of Time
10. I Came to Rock
11. King for One Day
12. Superman

David Readman (vocals)
Alfred Koffler (guitar)
Uwe Reitenauer (guitar)
Dennis Ward (bass guitar & backing vocals)
Chris Schmidt (drums)

Pink Cream 69 (1989)
One Size Fits All (1991)
Games People Play (1993)
Change (1995)
Food for Thought (1997)
Electrified (1998)
Sonic Dynamite (2000)
Mixery (EP 2000)
Endangered (2001)
Live (Live 2003)
Thunderdome (2004)
In10sity (2007)
Live in Karlsruhe (Live 2009)


Produced & mixed by Dennis Ward
Recorded at Hofa studio & The Trakshak

Released 2013-01-25
Reviewed 2013-02-01


Off course this is better, but I'm still not a fan of albums where they have a super song right at the very start of it and then nothing that's even close to match it afterwards. Sure, on this album it's number three of twelve and that's a little better than when it comes as number one (at least then it doesn't peak before you've even grown acquaintance with the album).

I have two albums from before by this German/Brittish/American band called Pink Cream 69. One of those I bought, one I got to review nine years ago but none of them are albums I would say have a special place in the top layer of my discography. This is a band that through the years always has been good but not really that top level band. The album I got to review nine years ago is called 'Thunderdome' and got a seven out of ten score, which is around 4-5 with our current system. A good score, but not really in the peak district. And what was missing then is what's been missing always from this band - that special extra thing. And 'Ceremonial' feels a little bit like it takes that path as well.

Since 'Thunderdome' was released nine years ago, Pink Cream 69 has only released one studio album before this one and also a live album/dvd. The album released between this and 'thunderdome' is called 'In10sity' and for that album the band decided to recruit a second guitarist in Uwe Reitenauer and after the album was released the band has parted with their long time drummer Kosta Zafirou. For this album Kosta has been replaced by Chris Schmidt and this makes the second change in the line-up in the bands 26 year long career. 'Ceremonial' is the 13th album in the Pink Cream 69 discography and when the band has gathered to record this album after a few years in other projects it feels almost like when a family gathers for the holidays after a long time apart because everyone just seems to relax and be themselves here. David Readman, the other guy (beside Chris Schmidt) to replace a previous member in the band as Readman replaced Andi Deris (who's also releasing an album these days, with Helloween) sounds really good in almost every tone he breathe and sing. He goes from high to low very good and looking to all eight Pink Cream 69 albums he's done in the 19 years he's been in the band now, I think this is his best performance so far. Maybe the best performance he's ever done in his entire career because it sounds like he's really on to it all the time.

The performance from the rest of the band is no worse, take Dennis Ward on the bass for example. Despite spending a lot of time with Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske (as well as former Pink Crem 69 drummer Kosta Zafirou and the Krokus guitarist Mandy Meyer) in Unisonic this is clearly where he makes the most of his bass. It's like he's more comfortable here, getting exactly what he wants from the bass. And remember what I said about this being a sort of family reunion? Well, consider all the connections current and former members have with each other in other bands that feeling is definitely growing. Reitenauer, Koffler and Schmidt all play together with Ward in Sunstorm. Reitenauer, Ward and Zafirou had Kiske in company on 'Streets Of Fire' by Place Vendome. In Adagio, Ward produced one album and played bass on the other while Readman sung on both. And that's how it continues. If one member does something outside Pink Cream 69, he often takes someone else with him, as if to make sure they always have a big brother close at hand. But when in Pink Cream 69 where all are gathered - that brotherhood makes them all grow stronger individually, too bad this doesn't reflect on the group as well.

Because what this band lacks is not individual knowledge and performance, it's that special little something they only can achieve as a group. They are all experienced and great musicians doing one of their best performances here on this album but 'Ceremonial' still doesn't sound great. I can only guess on what's going wrong and I'm guessing it's the song writing because otherwise I can't find anything wrong with this album. They have great production and go great individual performances and in the third song, called Special, they really make something special - something that sounds great, and except for the song writing there's absolutely nothing different with that song compared to the other. Perhaps I'm the only one feeling like this? Well, I can't really speak for anyone else so I have to go from my own feelings and they say that I don't love this album…

So, no good then? Except for that Special song? Well, I wouldn't go that far. It really is a good album but most of the time it misses that something special. The extra edge. The X factor. 'Ceremonial' shines shortly now and then (even in other songs than Special), but not for more than a while and that's why I can't give it one too big of a ceremonial. However, if you are a fan from before 'Ceremonial' is another well written chapter in the history of this band. It's no disappointment, but again - like before - neither a top album. Still, I do recommend you to check it out! Especially Special, and perhaps also the last two songs.



Label: Frontiers Records
Three similar bands: Helloween/Unisonic/Sunstorm
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

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