MAD MAX – Another Night Of Passion (2012)
German Hard Rock group MAD MAX seems to have never really made it big outside Europe. Of course, they did have their loyal legion of fans, but not as large as they deserved back in a day.
Since the debut album in 1982, Mad Max has issued nine full-lengths throughout their career, which had some large gaps between due to time spent disbanded and their leader and founder Michael Voss different projects.
But lately Mad Max has found stability, releasing fresh material every two years, and now it’s time for the brand new CD “Another Night Of Passion”.
Even though recorded few months ago, “Another Night Of Passion” carries enough of a somewhat analog sound that one might expect from a release of this kind back in the eighties.
The clean vocals often stand out well here when the music moves a little slower, or leaves things a bit open. During the faster tracks with a richer sound, such as “You Decide”, they can be a little less dominant in favor of the subtle guitars that establish a catchy rhythm against the lighter rock distortion of the guitars.
The cymbals of the drum kit don’t really sound too impressive, coming off slightly muddied compared to the tighter snares with a very small echo found, and the deeper thud to the bass kicks.
But, no matter what song, it really captures the spirit of the eighties, and perfectly suits that brand of music Mad Max performs, offering more than just a nostalgic trip.
This release really seems to offer two different types of songs: the classic Hard Rock approach, and the fun and melodic radio friendly sound.
“Rocklahoma” has a lot of energy behind it, an upbeat arena hard rocker with a contagious chorus. It’s a party anthem written in homage to their 2009 and 2010 appearances at the three-day festival of the same name in Pryor, Oklahoma.
“40 Rock” carries a sticky chorus as well, while the main verses don’t necessarily offer up anything more than just a simple, catchy rockin’ structure that will leave the listener feeling good. A good track reminiscent of Voss’ earlier band Casanova.
This is a stark contrast to the edgier anthem “Metal Edge”. The song is handled with a slower yet heavier pace and it’s plenty of chugging chords with eighties style clean vocals thrown in, which are sometimes layered or find gang chant elements here and there. A solid and dynamic track.
One of my favorites of the CD is “Fallen From Grace”, a US eighties influenced song starting with a moody intro, an irresistible set of harmony backing vocals and Don Dokken-esque phrasings. The melody has a slightly haunting tone, especially at the start with the acoustic rhythm guitar behind the heavily echoed lead solo. The chorus is infectious with a slightly emotional touch thanks to the solid guitar chords and vocals with a hint of extra enthusiasm.
“Black Swan” has a sharp riff, a track that blurs the lines between Euro metal and melodic hard rock with its intense drumming and soloing.
“The Chant” mixes eighties with nineties sounds, overall pretty heavy but melodic thanks to the energy captured in the music and vocals in many parts, as well as the stronger bass presence that really makes it infectious thanks to those quicker chords being performed against everything else.
“Fever Of Love” is a The Sweet cover, a commercial catchy track full of harmony vocals and the big guitar riff keeps you coming back for another listen.
Having said that not quite everything hits home with the same long lasting consistency, as “Back And Alive” feels just a little too generic, and the final and instrumental track “True Blue” sounds uninspired.
“Another Night Of Passion” is much more solid than Mad Max’s previous album, with a good amount of diversity to the music mixing edgy tracks with melodic tunes, remaining faithful to the band’s eighties pedigree.
Stylistically, the sound of Mad Max is lean, tight and full of nice vocal harmonies, cool riffs and rockin’ melodious solos.
Chief Michael Voss is a good songwriter & arranger, and instinctively knows what better works within the band’s sphere, but surprisingly the production isn’t the best.
On a side note, be aware: the digital download of this album presents several noises on the last track (and an awful sound on it). Better get the special double CD edition which includes a bonus live disc.
It’s good to see and hear the proper Mad Max back in business. With “Another Night Of Passion” they have proved to be an outfit that still has a lot to say, and well worth hearing.
01 – Rocklahoma
02 – 40 Rock
03 – Metal Edge
04 – You Decide
05 – Welcome To Rock Bottom
06 – Fallen From Grace
07 – Black Swan
08 – Back And Alive
09 – The Chant
10 – Fever Of Love
11 – True Blue
Michael Voss – lead vocals, lead guitars
Jürgen Breforth – rhythm guitars
Roland Bergmann – bass, vocals
Axel Kruse – drums
BUY IT !