Madam X – Monstrocity Review

Released by: EMP Label Group

Release date: 3 November 2017

Genre: 80’s Metal

Links: https://www.facebook.com/MadamXofficial/ , http://www.madam-x.org/

 

Line-up:

Maxine Petrucci- Guitar

Roxy Petrucci- Drums

Bret Kasier- Vocals

Chris Doliber- Drums

 

Track Listing:

  1. Resurrection
  2. Monstrocity
  3. Nitrous
  4. Freak Parade
  5. Die Trying
  6. Hello Cleveland
  7. Big Rock Rolls Heavy
  8. Detroit Black
  9. The Rise
  10. Good Stuff
  11. Wish You Away
  12. High In High School
  13. Bride of Frankenstein

 

If the band Madam X is even on your radar it is likely for one of a few reasons: you know them as the band that Sebastian Bach was in just prior to joining Skid Row (though only as a footnote as there was nothing ever released with him on it.) It could be the Vixen connection seeing as Roxy Petrucci played drums for both bands. Or you just managed to stumble across them either living in the Detroit area or delving deeper into bands of the Glam Metal variety. I’m somewhere within all three. I have a vague recollection hearing the name/seeing a picture in some magazine, and this could’ve even been when Skid Row exploded on the scene. I didn’t get to hear the one album, We Reserve the Right, until much later on in life. It’s one of those albums that, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily that groundbreaking (even for its time period) other than having two females and two towering dudes in the band. It’s pretty standard Glam Metal in that it’s catchy, but one of the aspects that made this album stick with me was the fact that guitarist Maxine Petrucci could absolutely shred, and sister Roxy was an amazing drummer. Not to trigger anyone, but back then it was damn near unheard of that females were involved with the male-dominated world of Hard Rock & Metal, especially one’s that could… well, really play. Even after all of these years, it’s still somewhat of an anomaly, but thankfully not near as much. Even better, falling by the wayside more and more is the tired statement, “She’s pretty good… for a girl.” Madam X reunited with the original members back in 2014 to do some shows, and it seems the magic was still there for all four to create a new album.

It’s called Monstrocity and sonically it is “better” than their debut, however like many of the Glam Metal bands from back in the day they’ve updated their style to make them a little darker and gothic. On one hand I get it: this isn’t the musical environment for a fun time album (though it should be- what better time to have such than right now when so much looks so bleak.) It’s considerably heavy than We Reserve the Right, which definitely spoke to me with my love of heavy music. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t like Death Metal, but it is a much more aggressive approach, more of a Metal edge if you will. The Petrucci sisters have definitely stepped up their talent levels, plus Bret Kasier’s voice still sounds good, hitting some high notes from time to time showing he’s still got it and bassist Chris Doliber handling the low end quite handily. My first couple of spins of this album didn’t entirely connect with me, but once I played it back to back with their debut, there are still enough elements in there from their old Glam days, and not too much difference even with the heavy to detract from it for me. As it grew on me I realized songs like “Monstrocity” and “Detroit Black” along with more obvious songs influenced by their original sound like “Die Trying” and the reworking of their original classic “High In High School” all still more or less remained true to their sound.

This album won’t necessarily make my favorite list for the year, but it was still a good album and it was great hearing that none of them have lost a step over the years (their debut came out in 1984, so this is a great span of time between releases.) After several spins I came to really appreciate the change in their sound and understood why it happened. If you’re looking for an album that is 100% early Madam X, this one is sure to disappoint (though if it had been a carbon copy it kind of would’ve been pointless to release it don’t ya reckon?) And it’s not such a drastic stylistic change from one to the other, just beefed up heaviness and a darker Metal vibe to it. So many bands when they try to recapture old glory make some horrific miss-steps, but that would be furthest from the truth for Madam X and Monstrocity. Hopefully they will continue to make music because it is clear this grouping of musicians has a certain chemistry to them. It’s not likely to blaze up the charts (what does these days, except mindless bullshit,) but is definitely an album worth checking out.

 

Written by:  Chris Martin

Ratings: 8/10

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