Madhouse – “Metal Or Die” (Pure Steel Records)
Anyone into German speed metal will die for this!!! Formed back in 1987, Madhouse were well known in the Hamburg area, opening for the likes of Zed Yago and releasing a couple of demos before folding, the members scattering into different bands until 2014 when spurred by the true metal movement, they decided to get back together. Good move, as this album is nothing short of stunning. A mixture of new material and a re-working of old numbers, “Metal Or Die” is 10 tracks of authentic speed metal that will possess any true thrasher, influenced as much by Tankyard as Anthrax, and fuelled to the max by barrels of Holstein! Still with all original members plus the addition of vocalist Didi Shark (Crystal Shark, Seven Seas), this veteran crew is nothing short of steaming and serve it up red hot and proud on this bloody loud album ha ha!! Besides their impressive speed and precision playing, Madhouse clearly have plenty of talent in their composing, with massive hooks and catches throughout along with an unashamed use of melodies, making this album more than appealing to anyone into authentic 80s heavy metal. Screaming in on ‘Machinery’, Didi leads the chorus which is in classic German style mixing bierkeller singing with punk while the twin guitars of founders Carsten Krekow and Thomas Gamlien wail and blitz away relentlessly – awesome! On ‘One Way To Glory’ the melodies of Helloween collide with the chopping mosh beats of Anthrax amid harsh punk shout outs as the frantic guitars continue thrashing away while machine gunning melodies in between. Switching into a slower, if more epic mode on ‘Gates Of Hell’, the rough n chugging riffing heralds yet another massively catchy chorus complemented by thundering double bass drumming before melodic soloing adds the coup de grâce. A very impressive release indeed, proving that old dogs can learn new tricks but moreover that Madhouse play pure heavy metal mayhem to the max!!!