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The Arkanes
Label: SPV Recordings
Release: 25.04.2014
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Mad Max

To Mad Max guitarist Jürgen Breforth, the case is clear: “A band is a band! You can’t get that special vibe with a project or any other kind of constellation.” Mad Max is unmistakably a real band, and one that continues to play in its original line-up at the very front of the hard rock genre in 2013 – a rare phenomenon in the fast-lived music industry. You can see their team spirit on the atmospheric live photos of their current booklet, and you can hear it in every note on their latest album, Interceptor. The recording is powerful down to the last minute detail, breathes pure dynamics and leaves no doubt that Mad Max always push the pedal to the metal. The four musicians, Breforth, Michael Voss (vocals, lead guitar), Roland Bergmann (bass) and Axel Kruse (drums), promise “full throttle from start to finish” and sum up the direction of their new record in just two words: “It rocks!” Or, as guitarist Jürgen Breforth puts it: “Whereas some rock groups become insipid and balladesque with time, we’ve taken the opposite route and deliver nothing but pure energy.”

You couldn’t find a better description of their haunting opener ‘Save Me’, the driving ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ and ‘Revolution’ with its gritty guitar riff. ‘Streets Of Tokyo’ and ‘Godzilla’ are two songs which were influenced by vocalist Michael Voss’ tour of Japan together with Michael Schenker’s band. ‘Godzilla’ is about the emotions you feel walking through the narrow streets of Tokyo with their breath-taking skyscrapers, remembering images from the same-named movie classic which takes place in Japan. The lyrics of ‘Streets Of Tokyo’ were penned by former Scorpions drummer Herman Rarebell, who also toured Japan with Voss and Schenker and talks about his impressions in this song. Then there’s ‘Five Minute Warning’, a number which Breforth and Voss composed in Nashville in collaboration with American songwriter Van Preston. “Following our performance at the Rocklahoma festival, Vossi and I went on to Nashville to meet up with Van and write a track with her. The result is, in my opinion, a thought-provoking lyric about the continued destruction of our environment. Van Preston has a rather European point of view in this respect and denounces the ruthless exploitation of natural resources.”

There can be no doubt that Mad Max have come up with an exceptionally ambitioned album, both in musical and lyrical terms. Interceptor consists of a total of ten new songs, among them ‘Show No Mercy’, an updated version of a bonus track from Mad Max’ 1987 release, Night Of Passion. The song is about the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890, told from the point of view of a Native American. “Instead of keyboards, there are even more guitars, which makes the number sound contemporary and gritty.” In addition, there’s ´Turn It Down`, the obligatory cover song by The Sweet. “It’s what our fans are used to, so we just have to grit our teeth,” jokes Breforth.

Like its predecessors Interceptor was produced by frontman Michael Voss at his own Kidpool Studio in Münster, with the drum recordings completed at the renowned Principal Studios in Senden. The record was mastered at the MSM Studios in Munich, where once upon a time Gotthard added the final polish to their works. Breforth: “This time we made a conscious decision to allow ourselves more external output, yet without overdoing it.”

This “external output” also includes the work of renowned graphic artist Thomas Ewerhard (Avantasia, Edguy), who – inspired by the album title – picked up images from the apocalyptic vision of the first Mad Max movie classic featuring Mel Gibson, contributing his atmospheric, haunting artwork. There can be no doubt: great things are on the horizon when this band embarks on its next tour this autumn!
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