Mad Max are celebrating 35 years of producing quality metal fused AOR and musicians Michael Voss (vocals/guitar), Jürgen Breforth (guitar), Axel Kruse (drums) and Thomas “Hutch” Bauer (bass) have titled their new release with the imaginative moniker ‘35’.
The album sounds like they are still firmly planted in the 80s, but there is enough originality to give it a genuine ‘new’ tag. The musicianship is very high throughout and the production values match, giving the finished product a cohesive feel.
The album starts with a short but rewarding guitar piece – ‘The Hutch’ before the first proper track bursts forth. ‘Running To Paradise’ has an intro that is akin to Priest’s ‘The Hellion’, and keeps to the Priest riff route, but the vocals let you know it is Mad Max, with the melodic metal approach. The single ‘Beat Of The Heart’, again starts like Priest but then morphs into Bon Jovi for the sing-a-long chorus: the good news is it’s a damn sight better than anything BJ has put out lately. Title track (nearly) ‘Thirty 5’ is a strong and varied song, heavy and with a melodic chorus ready for a call and answer session when played live. ‘Snowdance’ has a definite feel of Extreme but with a lot more bite, as Voss gives his best vocal and then a great solo. ‘False Freedom’ with its antisocial media context is more Sabbath in its intro, and moves into a Europe type template with Tempest like vocals and is one of the strongest of them all with a cracking solo. ‘Rocky Road’ is about the trials and tribulations of a band on the road and, surprisingly, given the subject matter is a standard ballad formula with a heavier bridge and a quality solo: the whistling at the end is bit incongruous. The so-called bonus track ‘Paris Is Burning’ is a cover of the Dokken number and, they certainly do it justice. It pays due respect and, dare I say it, actually improves on the original.
Having made the comparisons to other bands to give you a flavour of what to expect, this isn’t a generic, sounds like… band by any means. There are references aplenty but it is not plagiarism, more an homage to the various influences that have helped make them what they are. This is a solid album of melodic metal with lots to offer listeners new and old.