Idealism is, as we all know, an inherent character trait that you can neither learn nor unlearn. In other words: You either have it or you don’t. Mad Max musicians Michael Voss (vocals/guitar), Jürgen Breforth (guitar), Axel Kruse (drums) and Thomas “Hutch” Bauer (bass) doubtlessly have that unshakable idealism that ensures that the band still delivers optimum performance even after 35 years, without ever giving in to supposed restrictions dictated by the music industry. “We’ve never produced a new album just because a record company asked us to or because it was supposedly high time to come up with a new recording,” says Jürgen Breforth. “For us the all-decisive question before every production is merely: Do we still have enough ideas for an album that we as well as our fans will get excited about? Only if everybody involved agrees on that point will we begin to work.” In the case of the current Mad Max album, “35,” which reflects musically and thematically the development of the group since it was founded back in the early 1980s, there can be no doubt that they still have lots of strong ideas up their sleeve. What is more: The new album sounds both classic and contemporary, holds lots of surprises in store and – last but not least – pays homage to the four band members’ heroes.
But let’s start with a real surprise: The single “Beat Of The Heart” stands out among the eleven songs on the album for a number of reasons. One the one hand the track could be described as the 2018 successor of Mad Max’s most important hit “Night Of Passion” (Breforth: “At the end of the day both numbers are about the heartbeat of life”), and on the other hand the band members have made their longstanding dream come true with the video that supports the song. “For once in the history of Mad Max, we wanted to shoot a video that has the look and the cinematic quality of a real little motion picture. Thanks to the support of our sponsor Hubert Teichmann, we got that opportunity at last.” By way of explanation: Hubert Teichmann, among other things the owner of the private “Staudenbahn” railway line near Augsburg, has been a staunch patron of the arts for a number of years – again the term “idealism” comes to mind! – and supplied the financial means that enabled Mad Max to shoot a video clip in Berlin with a number of actors, among them leading man Vinzenz Kiefer (The Baader Meinhof Complex, the action/crime drama series Alarm für Cobra 11, Jason Bourne) and director/screenwriter Oliver Bethke. So we can look forward to the first trailer advertising the clip in early June.
At the same time, “35” holds many more highlights in store, be it the programmatic “Rocky Road” with its lyrics about the inevitable highs and lows that every rock band has to go through in the course of its career or the rhythmic, belligerent “Snowdance” which sees Mad Max express their enthusiasm for the American band Extreme. Breforth: “Stylistically, this song stands out among the other tracks, which is why we weren’t sure initially whether to include it on the album.” “False Freedom” with its socio-critical content was penned by Breforth and American lyricist Jason Smith, just like the uptempo groove number “D.A.M.N.” short for “Devil’s After Me Now.” And last but not least: The bonus track “Paris Is Burning” is an homage to US supergroup Dokken, one of the most important inspirational sources of Mad Max’s whole career. Breforth: “Don Dokken himself has authorised our version.”
35 was produced at the Kidroom Studios in Greven, the drums were recorded under the direction of Rolf Munkes (Crematory, Phantom 5, among others) at his Empire Studios in Bensheim near Frankfurt, and the album was mastered at CS Mastering in Bratislava by Christoph ‘Doc’ Stickel (Michael Schenker Fest, among others), so the production parameters live up to the album’s high compositional standard. Which was another indispensable precondition for Mad Max before the band embarked on “35.”
Read our review here.