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CD REVIEW: MAD MAX – Thunder, Storm, and Passion

| 18 August 2015 | Reply

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Label: Steelhammer / SPV Records

Release Date: September 4, 2015

Rating: 8.5/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

There seems to be a run on 1980’s bands that were involved in the heavy metal movement and uprising.  The latest band from that era and genre to rear its metal head is Max Max.  These metal heads from  Münster, Germany have gone back to basics re-recorded twelve classic tracks, four from each of their first three major label releases.  Capturing the essence of the originals with an updated sound and understanding of the songs, their arrangements, and their overall construction of the tracks has breathed a new life into these tracks and brought them into the present while keeping the band and songs roots in the metal history books.

The release Rollin’ Thunder contributes the first four tracks of this revamped collection.  “Fly Fly Away” opens the collection with soaring vocals and searing riffs.  The feel of this track is very heavy with fluid guitars and rhythm section wrapped around the vocals.  “Losing You” kicks off with more great guitar riffs and vocals from original vocalist and lead guitarist Michael Voss.  The drums pound and keep time, even when the chorus seems to want to run off the tracks and away from the preset tempo.  “Rollin’ Thunder,” the original discs title track carries a heaviness that pours from the seams of this track from first note to last.  The songs strength is in its steady tempo and rhythm.  The final track from the 1984 release is the melancholy and seemingly reflective track “Thoughts Of A Dying Man.”  The verse is mellow and swirls nicely with the laid back and turned down guitars, while the chorus and bridge, while heavier, maintain the slow and steady pace.

“Never Say Never” comes flying out of the speakers with thunderous drums and bass, along with more riffs and metal vocals.  This track, lifted from the 1985 release Stormchild, is an arena rock gem that never received its due when it was released.  The chorus is catchy and is built to be played in front of a live audience.  “Lonely Is The Hunter” features some of the best guitar work on the disc, as well as strong rhythm section accompaniment from original drummer Axel Kruse and the lone new comer to the project, bassist Thomas Hutch Bauer.  “Stormchild,” the title track from this section of the discs release, is a frantically paced track that leans heavily on the drums and bass, while giving the vocals room to run and soar all over the verses, choruses, and bridges.  “Heroes Die Lonely” is a fun track that seems to grab cool ideas and components from other tracks in the bands catalog, with cool drum fills, vocals that show off the front man’s voice, and more than competent guitar work.

Night Of Passion, released in 1987, gives us “Burning The Stage.”  This song seems to embrace the mainstream metal sound of the late 1980’s, with big choruses and buring leads and riffs.  The guitars, including those from another original member guitarist Jürgen Breforth, blend well with Voss’ fretboard work to create a wall of guitar sound on this track.  “Wait For The Night” brings a breakneck drum sound and tempo that stands out amongst other tracks on this collection, but blends well with other tracks from the original release.  “Night Of Passion” is a guitar players dream, with a killer riff from the start that doesn’t let up.  This title track from the third release features vocals at the verse are a bit lighter than others on the disc, but demonstrate how the band was changing with the times in 1987.  Disc closer “Hearts Of Fire” is a really good power ballad that leaned heavier on the power than ballad, but would have ranked against any other late 1980’s metal track coming out of L.A.  This collection is a great representation of what the band offered then and how well the music has stood the test of time among their peers and contemporaries.

Tracklisting: Fly Fly Away – Losing You – Rollin’ Thunder – Thoughts Of A Dying Man – Never Say Never – Lonely Is The Hunter – Stormchild – Heroes Die Lonely – Burning The Stage – Wait For The Night – Night Of Passion – Hearts On Fire

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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