Madame Mayhem - Now You Know

14 songs
51:57 minutes
***** *


The album cover of the first Madame Mayhem is tantalizingly erotic, and her nom de plume makes you eager to dig deeper. The rock musician from Manhattan labels herself an eclectic artist and is supported by six musicians, some of whom have already played with Korn, Guns N' Roses, Stuck Mojo and Steel Panther. The only truly known band member is bass legend Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Mr. Big, The Winery Dogs,...) who also produced the album.

Now You Know came out already last year in the USA and enabled Madame Mayhem to open shows for Doro Pesch and Buckcherry. This year itís Europeís time to get to know this album featuring fourteen tracks that are generally quite short and compact. Madame Mayhem, who has also been involved in the songwriting, has a really strong voice. As the music is closer to rock than to metal, Iíd like to compare her to Amy Lee and Pat Benatar who have similarly powerful organs. From a technical point of view, the band is beyond reproach, and despite a commercial allure, most of the songs still manage to rock quite decently. Itís the more dynamic material that works best on the album. Something Better (Now You Know) has the singer scream all her anguish from her guts, making this one of the most moving pieces. Under The Microscope and Sacrifice are two further pieces that rock quite well. Unfortunately this is not always the case. There are just too many mellower tracks that should appeal less to a rock or metal crowd than to a staid blues and country audience. I had a really hard time with the ballads Pain and Anyone Who Had A Heart that would have fitted as well on albums by Sheena Easton or Dolly Parton. Better Days with its acoustic guitar also feels off on a rock album.

Maybe fourteen tracks is just too much for this album. The rocking songs are quite pleasant, despite their commercial sound, as they are very catchy. Vocals, music and production are also hard to criticise. This time itís too much variety that made me despair at times. I canít imagine that there are many people who will like every track on this album, as the stylistic repertoire is just too wide for most peopleís taste preferences. Letís hope that Madame Mayhem will head into a more rocking direction in the future.

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