Album Reviews

Madame Mayhem – Ready For Me Review

Released by: Metalville

Release Date: Out Now!

Genre: Hard Rock / Alternative Metal

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Madame Mayhem: vocals

Clint Lowery: guitar

Corey Lowery: guitar, bass

Troy McLawhorn: guitar

Ryan Bennett: drums

Bevan Davies: drums

Track Listing:

1.      War You Started

2.      Wake Up (Enemy)

3.      Hurt Me

4.      Innocent

5.      All Around The World

6.      Number one

7.      Stand up

8.      Say go

9.      Before You Burn

10.  Original

11.  Slow It Down

12.  So Wrong (Lay You To Rest)

13.  Ready For Me

“Ready For Me” is the third musical offering by the Manhattan native. Madame Mayhem bills herself as a true rocker with an eclectic style in every aspect of life. She has an ‘in your face’ attitude. And it is safe to say that her latest release lives up to that idiom. Track after track of hard-hitting alternative metal that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Lacuna Coil album. Discussing the album, Madame said that “it’s really my entire life. Everyone gets to know everything I’m dealing with and how I’m feeling,” elaborating that, “it’s about messed up relationships, it’s about frustration.” Having previously worked with Billy Sheehan of Mr Big and Winery Dogs fame on her last album, Madame co-wrote Ready For Me with producer Corey Lowery of Saint Asonia, as well as Clint Lowery of Sevendust, and Troy McLawhorn of Evanescence. As a classically-trained singer, Madame’s vocals are strong and bright on the album, which contrasts nicely with the melodic metal riffs that drive it along. If I have only one complaint, it is that the production values on the album are quite compact and it leaves it sounding flat at times.

“War You Started” opens the album with a powerful and melodic twist which segues into the radio-ready “Wake Up (Enemy)”, “Hurt Me”, and “Innocent” with their punchy, modern rock chops and layered vocals. Followed by “All Around The World” which Madame suggests, “is really about feeling like it’s you against the world, and racing against time. It’s about the pressures to succeed in such a short amount of time, people thinking they know best, and are only concerned about themselves.” It is certainly one of the heavier tracks on the album.

“Number One” tackles the entitlement culture that modern society is swept up in. With a melancholy edge, this melodic track builds into a swell of classic metal riffs and rhythmic bass and drum lines and allows Madame’s voice to shine. “Stand Up” is a balls-to-the-wall metal anthem, and invokes the fist-pounding and head-banging vibe of classic metal with a modern twist. For me, this is one of the stand-out tracks on the album. I’d like to hear Madame do more tracks in this vein in the future. Opening with a stripped-back piano, “Say Go” lulls you into the sense that this song will be a ballad, but once the guitars thunder in, it is very clear this song is anything but.

“Before You Burn” sets a haunting tone with its sonorous guitar riffs and dark vocals offset against the languid rhythms that tie it all together. “Original”, and “Slow It Down” present a more generic mid-tempo rock sound compared to the other songs on Ready For Me, and do not particularly add anything to what is otherwise a good album. “So Wrong (Lay You To Rest)” is “about some really dark messed up stuff I went through and the rage that was building up inside me because of it,” which Madame adds was, “about laying to rest the stress I was having over the situation.” Lyrically and musically, you can certainly get a sense of the trauma she has experienced.

Title track “Ready For Me”, like “Stand Up” is another hard-hitting heavy metal anthem, which firmly drops the gauntlet for anyone who wants to stand in Madame Mayhem’s way. Along with “All Around The World” and “So Wrong (Lay You To Rest)”, these four songs particularly highlight what Madame Mayhem is capable of and set the stage for what I’m certain will be a very focused fourth album.

Ready For Me is a perfectly good album, and it loses points on originality, but particularly the production quality. As is often the case with hard rock and metal acts in their early development, it is very difficult to recreate the depth and quality of their live sound in a studio. Often it takes three or four albums before a band finds a producer who can truly push the envelope and capture the essence of their sound. I’m sure it will be no different from Madame Mayhem. Ready For Me is an improvement over Madame’s previous albums, but it’s still not quite there yet. Ready For Me shows Madame Mayhem’s development as a singer-songwriter in a genre that was built by heavy metal sirens like Lita Ford and Doro Pesch and is now dominated by the likes of Lzzy Hale, Cristina Scabbia, and Alissa White-Gluz. While she certainly has the drive and the passion needed to stand amongst her peers, she will need to continue to build upon the framework she has established with Ready For Me and take things to the next level with her follow-up album.

Written by: Erik De’Viking

Ratings: 7/10

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