Mad Max – “35” CD/ LP (Steamhammer / SPV)
Well, no prizes for guessing why this 12th album from Mad Max is called “35” – it’s been three and a half decades since these German melodic hard rockers were formed! Despite all the years, it’s pretty clear from the 11 full blooded tracks here (including a ripping Don Dokken endorsed cover of ‘Paris Is Burning’ ), that they haven’t lost their zest or measure to produce huge, catchy rocking anthems – indeed, the band’s ethos of unrushed recording until the material meets their high standard was the prime reason for the five year delay since 2013’s “Interceptor”. Still with the core of Michael Voss, Jürgen Breforth and Axel Kruse with bassist Thomas Bauer joining in 2015, Mad Max are set to rock once more! From the roaring riffs on ‘Snowdance’ along with double bass drumming, Voss’s soul soon shows as do the melodies amid the shining harmonies before the catchy chorus hits – all the while with the piston pumping rhythm going at it in the background – before Breforth’s axe god solo rams it all home. On ‘Already Gone’ the slow swaggering heaviness gives way to Voss’s high soul paving the way for a massively catchy chorus, resplendent with hooks here and there from Breforth adding just the right touch without taking anything away from the huge ambience of the song, while his blissful solo only adds to it! Reflecting the highs and lows that every rock band has to go through the course of its career is ‘Rocky Road’, more than a ballad but really a heartfelt testimony to the fortitude of both Mad Max and its fans, initially quiet and emotional, but soon rocking out in style with heaps of passion in Voss’s voice and especially Breforth’s guitar work, before returning to its initial form – truly brilliant and destined to become an epic in the arsenal of this never say die veteran band. If you don’t know what these guys are about, then it’s high time you checked out “35” cos it’s classic Mad Max that still retains its timelessness even throughout the ages!