Review: Madam X – Monstrocity
Ellefson Music Production (March 1st 2018)
Reviewer: Simone – The Metal Mistress
The long-awaited sophomore album from Madame X has finally arrived. With the original line up reunited for this long-awaited production, old fans will not be disappointed and new ones will be extremely surprised.
And if you expected a nice, traditional 80s hard rock return to their roots for this album, don’t! Madame X kicks us in the ass from the first song – ‘Resurrection‘ – and keeps going to the final track. 30 years has been good to these musicians, providing a keen knowledge of what they desire on each track and seasoning their skills.
Throughout the album, Bret’s vocals are strong, flowing smoothly in transition from growl as in ‘Rise‘ to more retro metal like ‘Good Stuff‘. His ability to move from style to style is to be commended. I am a huge fan of Roxie’s drumming but was unfamiliar with her sister, Maxine and her guitar playing. To say what a huge surprise is an understatement. If you are a prior fan you will not be disappointed. If you are new to Madame X, you will be very surprised with the modern sound of this supposedly 80’s glam band.
The intro track, ‘Monstrocity‘ provides us with the message that “We are back and here to kick ass” –not just repeat. Its new, hard and fresh – not a rehash of traditional 80’s sounds. ‘Nitrous‘ harkens back to head banging Madame X with a retro sound to Bret’s vocals. This song starts the energy flowing that stays throughout the album. One thing I enjoyed about this long-awaited album is the diversity. You can hear in the quality of mixing and playing how much heart went into producing this album. Well thought out, each song is strong, well formatted and catchy. ‘Freak‘ gives us a jazzy intro then flows a nu-metal mix with strong balance between bass and guitar. There is a hint of circus melody throughout. Ladies take the lead in the singing here. To me, ‘Freak’ could possibly be the anthem of the album.
‘Die Trying‘ and ‘Hello Cleveland‘ give past fans the sound they love from the 80’s. A return to the classic hard rock with simple, clean instruments and lots of 80’s method singing (ooohs, Yeahs, ahhhs). ‘Detroit Black‘ makes it clear where Madame X has their roots: Midwest, USA. This song is pure Detroit rock – no L.A. fluff here. It screams balls, teeth and strength. Maxine gives us a good old heavy metal guitar solo in the middle. Godzilla (Chris) busts it out here providing a deep grunge tone to what I consider the best song on the album. ‘Wish You Away‘ is the album’s ballad. It has the traditional slow metal chords we all love from the 80s. However, it’s the type of ballad in which the singer is lamenting the end of a bad relationship – similar in vein to Guns and Roses ‘I Use To Love Her’. There is a great guitar riff in the middle by Maxine.
‘High in High School‘ is a re-mastering of the band’s original hit. And for fans of the original, this version will not disappoint. A bit more mature, a bit more graveling with some fantastic short riffs by Maxine throughout leading to a kick ass speed one towards end. If you don’t like this version, I would still listen simply for her guitar work. ‘Bride of Frankenstein‘ is my kind of song, Gothic, dark with deep, heavy vocals. And I love that the last thing I heard on the album is the phrase: ‘Holy Shit’.
What I loved about this album is that no matter what type of metal you like, you can find something on this album you will like. Each song stands alone yet they are not disjointed when listening to the album as a whole. Michael Wagener and Mark Slaughter have done fantastic jobs on mixing. It takes mega balls to release your second album 30 years after the first, so have some as well and give this great hard rock album a listen. You won’t regret it.