Madam X – “Monstrocity” (EMP Label Group)
With more hairspray than a L’Oréal factory and the dudes in the band sporting more make up than the chicks, Madam X successfully fell into the next generation of 80s glam metal bands following in the stack heel strut of Poison, WASP and Twisted Sister. Signed to Ozzy Osbourne’s label – Jet Records – they recorded their 1984 debut with none other than Rick Derringer before undertaking several US and UK tours, along with two MTV videos including their hit ‘High In High School’. As their egos grew bigger than their hair, the band fractured and when vocalist Bret Kaiser left to form his own namesake band, not even the presence by unknown Canadian vocalist Sebastian Bach could save the day for Madam X with drummer Roxy Petrucci departing for Vixen and Bach for Skid Row. Nothing would be heard from them until 2014 when the world famous Sweden Rock Festival managed to beckon all 4 original members to tread the stage once more. As with all recent such reunions, the response of the crowd, many of whom were original fans, along with the energy between the members soon ignited thoughts of greater possibilities – realized a few years later when the Petrucci sisters were hooked with Dave Ellefson’s label EMP thus resulting in this “Monstrocity”! Well, what can I say, there’s no more hairspray (even though there’s still hair) and gone is the street sleazy image to be replaced by a mean black leather look – and boy, the Petrucci sisters still look hot!!! Most importantly, the music itself is a shocker!! Astutely recognizing that the 80s are over as is MTV and stadium rock, the Madam X of today takes from their Detroit rock city roots to produce 12 hard hitting slabs of heavy, gutsy rock metal – and oh baby, prepared to be grinded, pummeled and have your ass majorly kicked!!!! Quite why the band never went for this style and sound back in the 80s is beyond me as they certainly didn’t need the cock rock shock with music like this. All the band members look to be in top notch physical shape and the stoked musicianship simply leaves no messing to the mind as it powers and smashes into you like a sledgehammer! Like fine, aged wine Bret Kaiser’s ballsy rock dog vocals lead on ‘Nitrous’ when he’s not being soulful like on ‘Wish You Were Away’ while 6 ft+ bassist Chris ‘Godzilla’ Doliber rams in even more power on the aptly named ‘Big Rock Rolls Heavy’. As for the Petrucci sisters, well they’re simply molten firebrands, just check out Maxine’s guitar on ‘Detroit Black’ while Roxy stomps it all over ‘Hello Cleveland’ complete with monster cow bell, while double bassing it on ‘The Rise’. Completed by an awesome sound, “Monstrocity” is an stupendous release, proving that the 80s vibe can still sound and even be relevant these days. An utterly amazing comeback.