Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Mad Max - White Sands
Musical Style: Melodic Metal Produced By: Michael Voss
Record Label: AOR Heaven Country Of Origin: Germany
Year Released: 2007 Artist Website:
Tracks: 11 Rating: 85%
Running Time: 41:49

Mad Max - White Sands

The past year has been a busy one for the German melodic metal outfit Mad Max.  After getting started in 2006 with its sixth album overall in Night Of White Rock, the band recorded a six song EP entitled In White before following up with its early 2007 release White Sands.  The album finds Mad Max continuing to chart the waters of melodic metal territory, delivering a sound that is heavier in comparison to Night Of White Rock while showcasing the same abundant hooks and melodies.  Anthemic hard rockers such as “Family Of Rock” and “We Fight In White”, for example, stand out with their catchy hooks as do the more up-tempo sounds of “Little Princess” and the aptly titled power ballad “Glorious Might”.  A straightforward hard rock direction is taken on “War” – the heaviest song ever recorded by Mad Max – and the blues influenced “Change It”, while a softer side to the bands songwriting skills can be found in the ballads “Heaven Is…” and “Shine On”.

Michael Voss returns with his Michael Sweet (Stryper) influenced lead vocal abilities and forms a tight as a nail guitar team with Juergen Breforth.  The two combine for an ample amount of edgy rhythm guitar in addition to best exhibiting their soloing abilities on “War”, “Too Wrong” and “We Fight In White”.  The rhythm section of Roland Bergmann and drummer Axel Kruse continue to put in a topflight performance.  It is worth pointing out, nevertheless, that no keyboards were used when recording White Sands, a decision that helps lend to the albums overall feeling of heaviness.

Production values, coming across crisp and clean, maintain the same high standards as those found on Night Of White Rock.

“Family Of Rock” gets things underway to a drum solo before proceeding at a mid-tempo clip.  Crunching through its verse portions, the song culminates as it obtains a chorus with a prodigious draw you in and refuse to go away hook.  What we have here is a melodic based track that in another era would have dominated FM radio.

The vocal harmonies introducing “Little Princess” give way to a groove flavored riff, an abundance of gritty impetus leading the way until the song breaks out in up-tempo fashion for a chorus giving to a deep and resounding feel.  “Little Princess” deals with the issue of child abuse:

She’s daddy’s little princess
Daddy’s little girl
Trapped inside a bad nightmare
She’s daddy’s little princess
Daddy’s little girl
Nothing but a prisoner
All alone
In this small town world

The pace slackens somewhat for the Def Leppard influenced ballad “Heaven Is…”.  Gracefully moving forward to a quietly played guitar line, the pace does not pick up until the song obtains a radio friendly chorus shored up by an adulating mix of vocal harmonies.  The subject matter here is about how heaven is sometimes not what you expect it to be:

Tell me, are the stories really true?
Tell me, why He means so much to you
It’s really hard for me to understand

Heaven is where You are
Heaven is not really far
Heaven is not just a place
Heaven is so much more

The album returns to its hard rocking ways with “Somebody Like You”.  Opening to a snarling guitar riff backed by some gritty leads, the song tapers off at the start of its first verse only to gradually gain momentum prior to acquiring a chorus in which an emotionally charged setting is put into place.  Voss really shines here with his raspy vocal delivery.  The lyrics to “Someone Like You” complement the feel to the music here:

Lord, why do you love me?
I’m a refugee
Always hidin’ from my shadows
They are chasin’ me
If You’re out there, let me know
Your kingdom’s hard to find
If You’re right then prove me wrong
And change my mind

“Lluvia” is a brief but melody filled instrumental allowing the guitar team of Breforth and Voss to shine with their tight as a nail playing.  While this proves quite the catchy piece, my only complaint is that it is a bit on the short side and wish it would have been carried out an extra minute or two.

Several seconds of open air rhythm guitar initiates “We Fight In White” before it kicks into high gears.  Storming through its first verse, the raucous environment is upheld as the song charges ahead to the anthem-like chorus that follows.  A stretch of spirited lead work brings out the best in a track that can best be described as the bands signature song:

We fight in white
All we need is peace
We fight in white
We fight in white
That’s what we believe in
That is why we fight in
In White

“Change It” immediately launches into a blues flavored riff, the low key atmosphere upheld until the rhythm guitar moves to the front of the mix and drives things to a decisive chorus talking about the need to make a change for the better:

Change it for the sun
Change it for the moon
Change it for the world
But change it soon
Change it with a word
Change it with a vow
Change it for the better, but change it now

An extensive instrumental section is sustained by a fiery run of lead guitar work.

“Glorious Night” quietly progresses through its verse portions in an acoustic laced manner, building in initiative until making a transformation to a majesty filled chorus reinforced by an ample amount of crisp sounding rhythm guitar.  “Glorious Night” comes across in the form of a worshipful power ballad:

What a glorious night
I wish that it could last forever
What a glorious night
And I finally found my way
What a glorious night
Full of stars shinin’ bright
Tonight is like a now or never
What a glorious night
I am born again today

“Too Wrong” delivers a hard rocking sound that brings to mind Kiss.  A pounding riff initiates the song before it moves forward at a resolute mid-tempo pace, an even transition made as it gains hold of a smoothly flowing chorus giving rise to a wealth of draw you in appeal.  A blend of mega-tight guitar harmony and ardent lead guitar holds sway over a well-timed instrumental section.  “Too Wrong” talks about someone searching for the right way:

I can feel there’s something wrong
Can feel it in my heart
I’m ready Lord to face myself
But don’t know where to start

I can feel it’s getting rough
It’s getting tough this time
I’m ready Lord to follow You
And leave it all behind

“War” represents by far the heaviest track recorded by Mad Max.  Jumping out of the gate at an upbeat tempo, the song bounds through its first and second verse to a pronounced bass line prior to a wall of rhythm guitar stepping forward and playing a leading role in a chorus delivered in hard hitting fashion.  A blazing guitar solo tops off a number in which Mad Max makes a statement against war and violence:

This is a true story
Of a nation once so free
People kllin’ people
Now the names are history

This is a true story
A father tells his son
Boy, I have survived it
But a war is never won

White Sands ends fittingly to the very well done acoustic based ballad “Shine On You”.

Review by: Andrew Rockwell

Track Listing: “Family Of Rock” (4:28), “Little Princess” (3:41), “Heaven Is…” (3:28), “Someone Like You” (4:06), “Luvia” (2:22), “We Fight In White” (3:26), “Change It” (4:14), “Glorious Night” (4:30), “Too Wrong” (3:51), “War” (3:40), Shine On You” (4:06).

Michael Voss – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Juergen Breforth – Guitars
Roland Bergmann – Bass
Axel Kruse – Drums

Also Reviewed: Mad Max – Night Of White Rock


Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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