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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Madame Mayhem

Now You Know

Review by Gary Hill

More or less a heavy metal album, this does have a lot of leanings toward AOR mainstream music. The vocals most often sound like Pat Benatar, but it also calls to mind things like Lacuna Coil to a large degree because of the singing. Musicians on the disc include Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Winery Dogs), Ray Luzier (Korn, KXM), Ron Bumblefoot Thal (Guns N Roses), Russ (Satchel) Parrish (Steel Panther) and Corey Lowery (Saint Asonia, Stuck Mojo). It’s a good set, but has a tendency to get a bit samey.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Monster

Powering in fairly slow and dramatic, this build out to something a bit like European epic metal. It’s a powerful cut. The funny thing is, as strong as the musical structure is (and it’s stomping, really), it pales behind the killer vocal performance. In some ways the vocals make me think of a metal Pat Benatar. This piece has a real Lacuna Coil kind of vibe, too. It’s an exceptional starter.

Perfect Nightmare

More mainstream rock in some ways, this is still another that has a lot of epic metal built into it. It’s no less of a powerful cut. I like this one a lot. It’s a different edge of the sword. While the other one was more of a heavy cut this is more like mainstream rock with metal built into it.

Something Better (Now You Know)
Frantic and furious, this is more modern in tone and style. It’s also quite literally a screamer. There is a real anger here. It reminds me of something Korn might do, but with those female vocals built into it. It’s great that it shows another completely different sound.
Left for Dead
Here is more of a melodic rocker. Sure, there is still metal built into this beast, but it’s mainstream hard rock based, too. It’s quite modern in texture. It’s yet a different sound, but also a strong one.
Witchcraft
Less metal than some of the others, this is still energized and crunchy. It’s one of the more modern cuts here. It’s also another strong one.
More Than Misery
Here is another screaming hot rocker. It’s very much an epic metal styled piece. I like the mix of mainstream and metallic sounds on this tune.
Better Days
This cut is a great ballad. It’s a nice change of pace. It still has some crunch, but I’d consider this more mainstream rock than I would metal.
After 2 AM
Powering in quite heavy, somehow it feels like a cross between Iron Maiden and Godsmack musically to me. Beyond that, it’s not a big surprise. It’s a solid metal tune with melodic hooks.
Nothing to Lose
The formula is starting to wear a bit thin here. This song just doesn’t feel all that different from the rest. That said, the vocals still make it worthwhile.
Under the Microscope
Here we have a screaming hot tune that’s quite different. It’s very modern in texture, but also rather odd (in a good way). There are hints of world music in the mix here. This is one of the coolest cuts here. It’s also a much needed bit of variety.
Sacrifice
More mainstream rock oriented, this feels like a more modern, crunchier version of Pat Benatar to me. This does get extremely heavy later in the piece.
Pain
Here’s another ballad. It’s more mainstream rock music than it is metal for sure. It’s also a very strong tune.
Can't Stand
Another metal stomper, this is energized and classy. It does have some changes to more melodic music. It’s a good cut.
Anyone Who Had a Heart
This isn’t metal at all. Instead, it has a great old school rock music vibe. I like the change it presents, but I think maybe it would have been better some place else on the album, allowing for a stomper to close the set. This even has some hints of jazz and R & B.
 
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