Mad Max
One of the old guard of German metal, Mad Max debuted in 1982 with their self-titled album that was heavily influenced by the NWOBHM movement of the time. They managed to gain a sizable cult following in Europe in the mid-80's before fading away. The band reunited and put out a comeback album in 1999, and have again
reemerged in 2006.

Rollin' Thunder Mad Max - Rollin' Thunder (independent) 1984

1. "Fly Fly Away" (3:59)
2. "Evil Message" (3:29)
3. "Losing You" (3:49)
4. "Stranger" (4:21)
5. "Yours Sincerely" [instrumental] (2:07)
6. "Shout And Cry" (4:46)
7. "Rollin' Thunder" (4:02)
8. "Riding Through The Night" (3:53)
9. "Thoughts Of A Dying Man" (5:37)

"Rollin' Thunder" was the second album from traditional German heavy metal band Mad Max. It was their first with Michael Voss on lead vocals. While Mad Max are from Germany, they seem have more in common with the NWOBHM bands at the time than they do with bands like the Scorpions or Accept. However, I do hear some similarities to some of the early material of fellow German metal mongers Sinner. The songs are melodic, but heavy. The rough recording gives the band a slightly heavier sound than had "Rollin' Thunder" been more cleanly produced. The only real mellow moment is the ballad that closes the album out, "Thoughts of a Dying Man". This song has a dark, moody feel similar to Judas Priest's "Beyond the Realms of Death". The remainder of the material is traditional heavy metal that will appeal to fans of bands like (early) Sinner, Riot, Diamond Head, Breaker, etc.

Night of White Rock Mad Max - Night Of White Rock (AOR Heaven) 2006

1. "To Hell and Back" (3:20)
2. "Losing It Again" (3:33)
3. "Hope To See You Again" (4:13)
4. "Unbelievable" (4:24)
5. "Sign" (4:51)
6. "Homeless" (4:52)
7. "Raise Your Voice" (3:13)
8. "Upon My Soul" (3:47)
9. "Bad Day In Heaven" (4:38)
10. "N.O.W.R." (5:25)
11. "(Just a) Melody" (1:28)

As if the 80's never came to an end, Mad Max return in 2006 with "Night of White Rock", an album that could have blown down doors if it had been released a couple decades earlier. Musically, I am actually amazed at how much this has in common with Stryper. Much of the music on here would have fit neatly on "In God We Trust". The overall vibe is melodic heavy metal/AOR, complete with those melodic guitar solos, crunchy guitars, big vocal harmonies, big sing-along choruses, big sounding drums, etc. You get the idea. Micheal vox even has a very similar voice to Michael Sweet. Well, since Stryper abandoned that sound long ago, I guess there is nothing wrong with someone else picking up the ball and running. That is exactly what this German band is doing. Was fortunate to see this band on this tour in Switzerland at the Elements of Rock Festival. They put on a good show and were nice guys to boot. Even scored myself a guitar pick.

White Sands Mad Max - White Sands (AOR Heaven) 2007

1. "Family Of Rock" (4:28)
2. "Little Princess" (3:41)
3. "Heaven Is... (3:28)
4. "Someone Like You" (4:06)
5. "Lluvia" (2:22)
6. "We Fight In White" (3:26)
7. "Change It" (4:14)
8. "Glorious Night" (4:30)
9. "Too Strong" (3:51)
10. "War" (3:40)
11. "Shine On You" (4:06)

As if the 80's had never passed, Mad Max continue to crank out melodic heavy metal with abundant hooks and melodies. "White Sands" isn't an overtly heavy album. Rather, Mad Max focus more on catchy songs and pop songcrafts. There are the anthemic hard rockers such as "Family Of Rock" and "We Fight In White". Both tracks remind me of the glory days of hair metal and are some of the more up-tempo tracks on the album. "War" represents by far the hardest track recorded by Mad Max. I wanted to use the work "heavy" to describe this song, but compared to what is considered heavy by today's standards, "War" falls far short. However, classic metal fans will enjoy this song. "Too Wrong" is a rocker with a sound that reminds me of late 80's Kiss. "Little Princess" is a catchy track, as is the power ballad "Glorious Might". This song certainly has some Christian leanings. I'm not sure that Mad Max would ever be labeled a Christian band, however they also don't seem afraid to let their faith show in their lyrics in much the same way as bands like Mass, King's X and Galactic Cowboys have over the years. "Change It" has a slight blues influence to it and reminds me of Guardian a bit. "Heaven Is..." and "Shine On" show an even softer side of the band. Frankly, I would have liked to have heard a few less soft moments and few heavier moments, but overall, "White Sands" is a quality melodic rock disc from Germany's Mad Max. One thing about this release is that it doesn't have that European sound. At times vocalist Michael Voss reminds me of Micheal Sweet from Stryper.

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