What is this band’s obsession with the colour white? Their last three albums have had it in the title. It made me a little wary at first, but now that I’ve listened to “White Sands,” I can say there’s nothing controversial about it. I guess it reflects a Christian lyrical bent, but I can’t say I caught that. I was mostly waiting for it to be over.
MAD MAX is a group on their third legs, after an unremarkable run in the ‘80s and an unnoticed reunion in 1999. In the span of a year, they’ve put out three releases that seem to be going mostly undiscovered in the modern Metal/Hard Rock scene. If the other two are like “White Sands,” I’d say it’s mostly because they are simply uninteresting. It’s full of bland Hard Rock that’s trying to not be Glam Metal but isn’t doing such a good job. I never rocked with DOKKEN (damn conjugation), but I have a hard time believing that even the most nostalgia-starved hair farmer will probably check their watch partway through “Little Princess”, easily the most Glam of all the track. I mean, as soon as the player hits track number two I can taste the hairspray, see the tight Technicolor pants, and feel the STDs radiating off the groupies. I have developed a bizarre fixation on this track; at once it is representative of the album’s short-comings and blows them out of proportion. And, thanks to a missed annunciation, I spent the first several listens thinking it was about a young girl “trapped inside a man,” rather than “trapped inside a mad…nightmare.”
Okay. This is an album, not a single song. So, what can I say about the rest of “White Sands”? There’s one good song on here. “Lluvia,” an instrumental, puts really good guitar licks together with a Classic Rock rhythm section for a journey through the desert at dusk. For a band whose claim to fame is otherwise a pretty good guitar tone, this is a perfect oasis in a parching wasteland of mediocrity. Two minutes and twenty seconds of good still leaves 35:16 that you’ll want to chew your own leg off to escape.
(Online May 5, 2007)