Pink Cream 69 – ‘Headstrong’

 


THE BAND:
David Readman – vocals
Alfred Koffler - guitar, backing vocals
Uwe Reitenauer - guitar, backing vocals
Dennis Ward - bass, keyboards, backing vocals
Chris Schmidt - drums

 

 

TRACK FRAGMENTS:
DISC I: (studio release)
1.) “We Bow To None” – This track opens with a semi-simple sounding rhythm guitar riff.  Underneath the third repeat of the riff the drum line kicks-in.  The drum line opens with a few snare/tom-tom patterns before opening up into a drum fill.  Dennis’s bass line of this section followed along with the drum fills.  Over the top of the drum fill David sang the lyrics “feel the fire”.  Which you would have though it would have been at that point the musical verse would have kicked-in however it did not.  Instead the second guitarist of the band began to play the same intro rhythm.  In many was Alfred and Uwe’s rhythm guitar twin guitar riff of this intro kind of reminded me of Frank and Tommy of Tesla (only with the flash or back and forth).  Doing this really didn’t give the guitar tracks a heavier sound as I was expecting.  For the musical verse it sounded as if one guitarists were playing one rhythm while the other was playing a different one.  There was a small drum fill underneath the third lyric line of the verse.  There was a complete rhythm change for the musical chorus.  David carries out the last lyric note showing his vocal strength.  As the song progresses it sounds as if Dennis’s bass line gets louder.  There was a vocal accent that lead to the lead guitar solo.  Though the lead guitar solo was kind of on the short side it was very intense. Scattered throughout the song the drum line switches back and forth between a single bass and double bass drum pattern.
2.) “Walls Come Down” -  Over the top of the bass and drum line along with the rhythm guitar arrangement of this intro there was a minor lead guitar solo.  This minor lead guitar solo connected the musical intro with the musical verse.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse.  The lyric lines of the lyrical verse consisted of a very nice hook.  The last lyric line of the first verse and the first lyric line of the first chorus over lapped.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical chorus.  The first and second choruses of this song were back to back separated by a minor lead guitar solo.  After the second chorus there was a second minor lead guitar solo leading into the second verse.  After the third chorus there was a drastic musical change where the band speeded the music b.p.m.(beats per minute) up.  This lead to the major lead guitar solo section.  As a former drummer I loved bass drum change of the drum line for this section of the song.  Though the solo was hugely intense it was very short.  Personally, I thought this song had all the making for a twin lead guitar solo.  Underneath the last chorus of the coda in between the lyric liners there was several lead guitar licks.
3.) “Unite And Divide” – This intro consisted of three quarter-notes played by the guitar, bass and drums.  After the pre-verse there was one hell of a musical change to connect the pre-verse with the verse.  There was a musical arrangement change for the musical chorus.  Chris switched from a standard drum rhythm to a tom-tom pattern for the musical chorus.  There was a minor lead guitar solo connecting the first chorus with the second verse.  After the second chorus there was a major lead guitar solo.  Compared to the previous two songs this track was pretty basic.  Now by far I’m I say just because this one is more basic that it is not as good of a song.  This song is just as good as the rest of them.
4.) “No More Fear” -The coda of the previous track bleeds into the intro of this track. This short intro consisted of a lead guitar rhythm over the top of a rhythm guitar arrangement.  The underlining rhythm guitar arrangement was mainly playing rhythm chords used to fill-in the gaps left by the lead guitar arrangement.  There was a short snare drum fill along with a vocal accent to kick off the musical verse.  There was a rhythm arrangement change for the musical verse.  Chris played a snare fill to open the first lyric line of the opening first verse.  The last lyric of the first lyric line consisted of an echo at the end of it.  The rhythm guitar arrangement along with the way the guys arranged the lyric lines of the chorus kind of reminded me of the stuff Steve Harris of Iron Maiden has been arranging the last few releases.  Not that the chorus sounds anything like Iron Maiden.  Just the songwriting style reminds me of that.  After the first chorus there was several blistering lead guitar notes.  Not enough to call a minor solo though.  There was a backing vocal attached to the next lyric line.  The way the backing vocal was recorded sounded like it was off in the distance almost like in another room or something.  It didn’t really add anything to this song however, I thought it was a very cool studio trick.  The choruses of this song consisted of very nice hooks. After the second chorus there was a breakdown section.  For this breakdown section Chris switched to a tom-tom pattern.  The breakdown section lead to a minor lead guitar solo.  This is the only time so far Pink Cream has let me down with this release.  At this point in the song would have been the best opportunity for a blistering twin lead guitar solo.  The breakdown section consisted of several tom-tom fills.  The coda was actually a breakdown section that consisted of a huge bass line.
5.) “Man Of Sorrow”-This track opens with a lead vocal line.  An acoustic guitar arrangement kicks-in underneath the second lyric of the opening lyric line.  The way the lyrics lines were arranged along with the way David said the lyrics was in the vain of bands such as stripped-down versions of bands such as Stained or Seether.  Underneath the fourth lyric line Dennis’s bass line kicks-in also a second acoustic rhythm guitar arrangement.  The acoustic guitar rhythms are two different arrangements.  The first lyric of the next two lyric lines consisted of an echo before the next lyric.  For the musical chorus the drum line not only, kicks-in however, Uwe and Alfred drop the acoustic guitars for electric guitars.  If one of the guitarists is still playing an acoustic guitar it is over shadowed by the electric guitar rhythm.  There was a music arrangement change after the first chorus to connect the first chorus with the second verse.  This music arrangement change consisted of two different rhythm guitar arrangements.  After the second chorus there was a very melodic lead guitar solo.  The rest of the song consisted of repeated choruses.  Underneath the lyric lines of this choruses there was little lead guitar licks.
OPutside of the coda which consisted of the same musical arrangement that opened the song.
6.) “Path Of Destiny” – This intro opened with a tom-tom fill along with a double-bass drum pattern.  There was a minor lead guitar solo over the top of the rhythm guitar arrangement of the intro.  Though this intro was short it had to be the most intense intro on the release so far.  Uwe and Alfred used basically the same guitar arrangement for the musical verse as the one for the intro outside of tweaking it just a little.  Chris’s drum line of the verse is not only where the song gets its power however also it’s intensity.  There was a musical change for the musical chorus.  The rhythm guitar tracks for the chorus consisted of two different rhythm guitar arrangements.  After the second chorus there was a music arrangement change leading into a blistering lead guitar solo.  This song was screaming for a twin lead guitar solo or a double-tracked solo.
7.) “Vagrant Of The Night” – This was a marvelous ballad.  The acoustic guitar work was just astonishing.  I have been waiting for Uwe and Alfred to play something to this effect and not only did they surpass my expectations they did it on acoustic guitars.  Which just made it that much more special!
8.) “Bloodsucker” – This track opens with a rhythm guitar arrangement over the top of a tom-tom pattern.  At the end of the second measure there are several cymbal crashes.  These cymbal crashes lead to a minor lead guitar solo.  Chris’s micing on his toms gave his tom-toms an amazing sound.  The minor lead guitar solo connected the musical intro with the musical verse.  There was a backing vocal in between the first and second lyric lines of the musical verse.  There was a rhythm arrangement change for the musical chorus.  The way the guys arranged the lyric lines of the chorus gave the song a very huge hook.  There was a musical rest underneath the last lyric line of the chorus.  After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo section.  There was a minor lead guitar solo underneath ther chorus of the coda.
9.) “Whistleblower” -This track opened with a classic metal intro.  There was a minor lead guitar solo over the top of the musical intro.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse.  The way the band wrote the rhythm arrangement change made the arrangement sound as if the song had slowed down.  However, in actuality the song stayed the speed.  There was a double-bass drum pattern connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus.  The last half of the chorus consisted of two different rhythm guitar arrangements.  There was a tom-tom fill connecting the first chorus with the second verse.  Lyrically this song reminded me of something Jeff Scott Soto would have written.  The lead guitar solo for this song had a very melodic feel to it.  Underneath the lyric lines of the fourth chorus there was several lead licks.
10.) “The Other Man” -This was a very cool ballad.
DISC II:(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”

 

    Hailing from Karlsruhe Germany Pink Cream 69 was formed in 1987 by Andi Deris, Dennis Ward, Kosta Zafiriou and Alfred Koffler.  The guys gained their first contract by winning Metal Hammer’s Newcomer’s competition just one year after forming the band.  In the thirty-one years together outside of Andi Deris and Kosta Zafirioun the original band is still intact. 
    Twelve CD’s in thirty-one years is just an average of 2 ½ albums per their career. 
    ‘Headstrong’ marks the bands twelfth release.  To mark the band’s thirty-one years together Frontiers Records has included a bonus disc.  The bonus disc was recorded live at The Rockfabrik venue located in Ludwigsburg, Germany on September 11, 2013.  I have been the editor of Blast Magazine for twenty years and this was the first Pink Cream 69 CD that has crossed my desk and I’ve had the pleasure to review.  From the opening riff I became an instant fan.
‘Headstrong’ is filled with insane rhythm guitar arrangements and ferocious lead guitar solos.  The lyric arrangements just soar with melodic vocal melodies and sweet hooks.  The bass and drum lines are played to perfection.  Making ‘Headstrong’ is as pure of a hard rock album as you are going to find.  ‘Headstrong’ was such a good release that It has put me in the market to purchase their entire catalog.  I would definitely recommend this CD!