Six years have passed since Germany’s Pink Cream 69 delivered “In10sity” to us. The same line-up returns for “Ceremonial” except founding drummer, Kosta Zafiriou (Unisonic). In his stead, Chris Schmidt takes over the kit duties. That includes guitarists Alfred Koffler and Uwe Reitenauer as well as vocalist David Readman (Voodoo Circle) and bassist/producer, Dennis Ward (Unisonic, Sunstorm).
“Ceremonial” represents another slab of riff and melody driven arena rock. The band wastes no time getting right to it unlike so many bands these days who insist on opening with pointless intros. The Egyptian tinted “Land of Confusion” is a towering beast to kick the door in. A mid-tempo wall of sound with thick riffs, and Readman’s larger than life soulful vocals. Readman has long been one of those vocalists who somehow flies under the radar but can make any band, any song, better for his dynamic singing talents.
“Wasted Years” is an addictive tailor-made radio hit, and “Special” has already been released as the album’s hooky first single.
A psychedelic undercurrent washes through the slow-rolling “Find Your Soul” before the band brings us back on the emotive waves of “The Tide”.
The “Big Machine” swaggers in with a dirty groove and slips right into the AOR gems, “Let the Thunder Roll” and “Right From Wrong”.
The band slows the tempo a bit for the bluesy and gritty, “Passage of Time”. Then the tempo picks right back up for the feel good foot-tapper, “I Came To Rock”.
The guys shuffle us out the door on the album closer, “Superman”, which provides a nice edgy conclusion to the record.
Pink Cream 69 has succeed yet again with another masterful collection of hard rock anthems any one of which could have found time on popular radio across the last 30 or so years. Readman and Ward have a knack for crafting and bringing to life melodies that breathe. The instrumental performances are built to serve the songs rather than overpower. Each element: vocals, bass, guitar, drums, all blend in synchronous perfection without overshadowing.
Critics may belittle or bemoan the fact that Pink Cream 69 has created nothing new or groundbreaking here, but they’d be missing the point. “Ceremonial” is comfort food for the ears: Every song hits the right note for the soul. It fills you up and leaves you gratified, satisfied, and perhaps even, tickled pink…
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Rustyn Rose is a veteran music journalist who owns and operates Metalholic Magazine and Metalholic Radio.