Sjak : It is already almost five years ago that the previous studio album ‘Interceptor’ of the Germany melodic rock outfit Mad Max saw the light of day. In 2015 still a compilation album, entitled ‘Thunder, Storm & Passion’ was released, which featured the best songs of the ‘Rollin’ Thunder’, ‘Stormchild’ and ‘Night Of Passion’ records, but that one didn’t contain any new material. The long silence is then now broken by this new release ‘35’, of which the album title is a reference to the already thirty-five year long career of this sympathetic band. During their long existence the band has style-wise evolved from a pure traditional metal sound to a more melodic approach and they have remained loyal to that on ‘35’.
Meanwhile the band knows how to write good tunes and therefore again a couple of those are to be found on this new album. As such we for instance have the first single ‘Beat Of the Heart’, which reminds me somewhat of Mad Max’ most successful track ‘Night Of Passion’, which is certainly not a bad reference. But next to this first single there’s more beautiful stuff to be found on the album, because also songs like ‘False Freedom’, ‘D.A.M.N. and ‘Rocky Road’ are very worthwhile to listen to. That certainly also accounts for the Dokken-cover ‘Paris Is Burning’, which is performed very convincingly. Normally I’m not a big fan of cover versions, but if you do it in this way it only deserves respect.
The guitar duo Jürgen Breforth and Michael Voss are taking care of the nice, melodic and fresh sounding riffs, while the last mentioned also vocally proves that he hasn’t lost anything of his power during the years. That, together with the great production and the easy-listening song material, accounts for the fact that also ‘35’ has become a very nice album. I’ve always had somewhat of a soft spot for Mad Max and, despite of the fact that records like ‘Night Of Passion’ and ‘Stormchild’ most probably won’t be equalled anymore, the band proves that even “in the latter days” of their career they are still capable of delivering a good sounding melodic rock album.