Whether it’s in music or in life: clarity is always the best argument if you want to convince people. Everybody knows where they stand, nobody is left in the dark, reliability and dependability are characteristics that everybody appreciates. Mad Max are musically unambiguous and have been for almost forty years! Their deeply melodic hard rock, driven by haunting guitar riffs, catchy vocals and a rhythm section with an infallible timing, has never lost its contours and honesty. Virtues that apply not only to all previous releases by the band consisting of Michael Voss (vocals/guitar), Jürgen Breforth (guitar), Axel Kruse (drums) and Thomas „Hutch“ Bauer (bass), but also to their latest offering, Stormchild Rising. Stormchild Rising celebrates a musical direction that has never lost its significance, despite all trends and short-lived fashions, and that’s also what Mad Max’s fans demand vociferously. “On our last tour we talked to fans from lots of different countries every night and found out that they don’t want us to experiment, they want to hear exactly the kind of songs that Mad Max have been known for since 1981,” says Breforth, looking back at the important insights gained during their tour supporing their previous album, Thirty 5.
How exactly this unambiguousness sounds in 2020 is revealed by the first single release ‘Hurricaned’ (scheduled for release on 26 June), supported by a brilliant video clip and socio-critical message. “We’re all subjected to a veritable hurricane of media overkill every day and can hardly process that flood of information,” Breforth explains the lyric, which was written before the Corona crisis and hence has almost prophetic traits. “With the relentless coverage of the pandemic since spring 2020, the media overkill has grown even worse.” Musically, ‘Hurricaned’ is Mad Max’s homage to Rainbow and their frontman Ronnie Romero, whom they met during their joint tour with CoreLeoni and who shares the vocals on ‘Hurricaned’ with Michael Voss.
There are two more remarkable guests on Stormchild Rising: Mad Max have recorded the Rough Cutt cover ‘Take Her’, enlisting the support of none other than original band member Paul Shortino at the studio. “Paul is not only a close friend, he’s also one of our all-time favourite singers,” Mad Max explain. “To record this song together with him was a great honour for us and a lot of fun. I think that’s something that you can tell from every single note.” Talking of notes: attentive listeners will be more than impressed with the haunting solo on ‘The Blues Ain`t No Stranger’, recorded by Stryper guitarist Oz Fox. Mad Max toured with Stryper in the 1980s and continued to stay in touch with Fox. “A lot of people know that he’s really ill, so his awesome solo is all the more remarkable.” The lyrics on ‘The Blues Ain‘t No Stranger’ are also unusual for Mad Max. Breforth: “It’s our very first song featuring the word ‘blues’ in its title. We wouldn’t have dared something like that in the eighties, but with more life experience and maturity it seems only apt to sing about crises and defeats for a change.”
The term experience almost inevitably raises the question: What’s the significance of the album title? After all, the name Stormchild has come up before: 1985 saw the arrival of Mad Max’s album Stormchild, which has fuelled their fans’ requests to resurrect this character ever since. “Stormchild is our warrior who battles for everything good in the world, not with weapons but with rock songs. We had Kai Brockschmidt (Pretty Maids, Pink Cream 69, among others) update him for the new cover artwork and practically revived him,” comment Mad Max, forging an arc to the early days of their career.
A career which has recently featured an unusual project: the song ‘Ladies And Gentleman’ can be heard twice on Stormchild Rising, on the one hand a German version which Voss, Breforth & Co. recorded together with children’s song star Detlev Jöcker and students of a German music school in April 2020, releasing it as a single, and on the other the English-language original with that typical Mad Max attitude. Because that’s something their fans can continue to count on 100%!