Album Review: Mad Max – Thunder, Storm & Passion

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Mad MaxGermany, Germany, Germany, wow what can I say about that country’s contribution to hard rock and metal. For a while, it seemed every band I heard that I liked came from Germany. Accept, Pink Cream 69, Iron Savior, Bonfire, Doro, Frontline, Jaded Heart, and Victory – just to name a few and, of course, my favorite band of all time, the Scorpions.

Not to be missed on this list is Mad Max.

Mad Max has built a solid resume of high-class rock and roll and has accumulated since 1982, 13 studio albums to date. Their latest album Thunder, Storm and Passion came across my radar with high anticipation.

I remember a few videos back in the day, but it was 1999’s Never Say Never that I really became a fan. That release made me dig back into their earlier catalog and then await every single release since.

Let’s start with the exceptional vocalist, Michael Voss. He has that kind of recognizable voice that grabs my attention whenever I hear it – even if I’m not paying attention. He has a way to mix that soothing voice with some of the most incredible hard rock riffs around. In some bands, this mix may not work but in my mind it is what gives Mad Max their signature hard rock yet melodic sound.

Mad Max consists of Michael Voss – lead vocals, lead guitars, Jürgen Breforth – rhythm guitars, Thomas “Hutch” Bauer – bass, vocals and Axel Kruse – drums

This latest album contains re-recorded versions of selections from their three albums before Never Say Never and gets its title from a combo of each – Thunder (Rollin’ Thunder), Storm (Stormchild) and Passion (Night of Passion).  The CD liner says it all: “All tracks were re-recorded to keep the spirit of the eighties alive to set old and new fans on fire.”

Just a side note -some CD’s have a bonus CD that contains live material from 2014’s Bang Your Head Festival. This review is for the single CD version only.

Mad MaxSo here goes in a nutshell:

  1. “Fly Fly Away” 04:33 (Rollin’ Thunder) An obvious opener that starts off with a fabulous riff. I am immediately hooked on this intense start. A highlight of this song is the pounding of Axel’s drums. This is definitely an early favorite for me.
  2. “Losing You” 04:08 (Rollin’ Thunder) Another good solid riff that is stopped in its tracks with a killer chorus. This song contains some nice guitar work from Michael.
  3. “Rollin`Thunder” 04:24 (Rollin’ Thunder) A true Mad Max classic. Slow and heavy – perfect – what more can I say?
  4. “Thoughts Of A Dying Man” 05:58 (Rollin’ Thunder) Final entry from 1984. An amazing ballad filled with some really amazing lead guitar work.
  5. “Never Say Never” 03:16 (Stormchild) I feel some Scorpions influence here as this song gets rocking early and a chorus with authority!
  6. “Lonely Is The Hunter” 05:40 (Stormchild) A toned down song that really shows Voss’ range – especially the chorus.
  7. “Stormchild” 03:46 (Stormchild) German metal at its best!
  8. “Heroes Die Lonely” 03:37 (Stormchild) Another first-rate rocker. Air guitars and toe-tapping are a requirement here.
  9. “Burning The Stage” 05:35 (Night of Passion) 1987 is brought to life in 2015 with this classic. Those haunting background vocals “Burning, Burning” are goose bump worthy.
  10. “Wait For The Night” 04:21 (Night of Passion) Sweet intro followed by once again some great lead in vocals. I think I hear a bit of UDO in there somewhere.
  11. “Night Of Passion” 03:52 (Night of Passion) A Mad Max signature song.
  12. “Hearts On Fire” 03:45 (Night of Passion) Rounding out the 80’s with another fine classic – a perfect ending. I feel young again!

Mad Max SRFI have to admit, I am not normally a fan of re-recorded songs but I’m sure this was something the band felt was necessary to reintroduce those early albums with a new refreshing sound and feel. Possibly to remind us older fans just how great they are and possibly hook a few younger rockers into their fold at the same time. The production is top notch and the CD really sounds great overall. The real treat is that these songs do not seem dated at all. That is a real compliment to a band that has been dedicating true rock music for decades now.

What’s next? All I can say is their last release Interceptor was in my list of top 10 CD’s for 2013 and I can only hope 2016 brings us a continuation of that that only Mad Max can give!

Brian Ronald

BUY: Mad Max – Thunder, Storm & Passion / BUY: other Mad Max CD’s

Mad Max Website / Mad Max Facebook

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