Published on March 27th, 2021 | by Justin G.
Ronnie Atkins: One Shot (Frontiers, 2021)
Ronnie Atkins’ first-ever solo album One Shot is a tough one to review. Not just because it’s an amazing album and I want to do it justice, but mostly because it could be the last album we ever get from the Pretty Maids vocalist. Atkins has been battling cancer for a while, and his prognosis is not good. Then Covid 19 effectively put Pretty Maids on hiatus. I have no idea how somebody copes with that, but it tells you a lot about Atkins’ strength that he decided to write and record an album in the face of his diagnosis and a global pandemic.
Atkins turned to some familiar faces to get One Shot put together. His Pretty Maids bandmates Chris Laney, Allan Sorensen and Morten Sandagar are on board, with Laney also handling production. Longtime Pretty Maids mixer/masterer Jacob Hansen is also on board. Atkins’ friends from At The Movies – Pontus Egberg, Linnea Vikstrom Egg and Bjorn Strid – all lend their talents, as do Kee Marcello (Europe), Oliver Hartmann (Avantasia) and John Berg (Paralydium). It’s essentially an all-star melodic rock project with Ronnie Atkins in the spotlight.
The thing I was most curious about going into One Shot was how much it would sound like a Pretty Maids album. I’m sure a lot of these song ideas were started with Pretty Maids in mind, but this is more melodic rock-oriented album along the lines of his Nordic Union releases. Now as much as I love hearing Atkins belt out the heavier, more metal Pretty Maids songs, you get so much more of his heart and soul on the melodic rock songs and ballads. This is essentially an album full of those, so this one really resonates emotionally.
Ronnie Atkins takes full advantage of his signature “velvet over gravel” vocal style here, and sounds as strong and vibrant as ever. The backing vocals add extra depth to the songs as well. They’re used especially well on “Miles Away.” Early single “Real” is a favorite, as are the rocking “One By One” and “Scorpio.” The title track is another standout, especially when you consider the lyrics in context with everything Atkins is going through right now.
Obviously this album has a certain emotional impact just given all we know about Ronnie Atkins’ situation. Setting all that aside, One Shot is still arguably the best melodic rock album 2021 has to offer, and is a strong album of the year contender. It’s an automatic must-have for fans of Pretty Maids, Nordic Union and At The Movies, and is all but certain to please any fan of bands like Eclipse, Khymera, W.E.T and One Desire. Let’s all hope this isn’t the last thing we ever hear from him, but if it is he certainly is going out on a high note.
Summary: Ronnie Atkins' first-ever solo album is pure melodic rock gold