Label: Frontiers 2013
Review by Kimmo Toivonen
Ever since they crawled back from the dark pit they fell into during the nineties, PC69 have constantly delivered fine melodic hard rock albums. "Ceremonial" continues on the same path, but somehow it doesn't work for me as well as their previous few albums. It's not a bad album by any means, but maybe it lacks a killer song or two. And packs a filler song or two.
The first half of the album contains most of the band's stronger songs this time, with "Wasted Years", "Special" and "Find Your Soul" as the highlights. The first two are lively, energetic uptempo tracks with strong hooks, while "Find Your Soul" has some echoes from the grunge era, yet the chorus is pure melodic bliss.
On the second half of the album the quality drops a little. "Let The Thunder Roll", "Right From Wrong" and "Passage Of Time" have their moments but they kind of sound like "PC69 by numbers" with familiar sounding melodies. The throwaway rocker "I Came To Rock" is probably the weakest song of the album, but "King For One Day" is like a breath of fresh air - a semi-balladic type of a song that reminds me a bit of Europe (the band, not the continent!) and Whitesnake. The lighter approach works well in contrast with the heavier nature of the rest of the album. "King..." would have been a good closing track, as the last song "Superman" doesn't really add anything to the album.
"Ceremonial" is a great sounding album as usual, thanks to the band's bassist Dennis Ward who just happens to be one of the favourite producers of the genre. Vocalist David Readman sings as convincingly as always, and the band plays well, so it's down to the songs why this album doesn't get more "R's" than just three. With the two weakest songs removed, I might have given this that one additional "R", but now it's a case of quantity over quality... as it usually is these days.