Maax – Unholy Rock & Roll Review

You may not know it from my reviews or forum interactions, but I can be a real asshole sometimes. Hell, I already had this review half-written in my mind before even hearing a single note: a rant on the ever-cheapening meaning of the phrase “rock n’ roll”, and a snarky simile comparing the use of the “blackened” descriptor in music to its use in Cajun cooking.  Another paragraph to prove my points, a witty conclusion, and I could call it a day.

Thanks for ruining my plans, Maax.

In reality, I could still do the above, but they just wouldn’t be the same with a positive twist. Maax does indeed rock and roll, just like Motorhead; they are also blackened, much like Venom, although maybe a bit burnt in the vocal area. Considering that Cronos, Mantas, and Abaddon themselves surely borrowed a thing or two from Lemmy, Philthy, and Fast Eddie, adding a few shades of evil to that high-octane rock swagger isn’t an entirely foreign concept. True to form, then, that Unholy Rock N’ Roll produced many a flashback to Venom’s debut – and not just because “Do What thou Wilt” seems to have lifted the main riff from that album’s title track. It almost comes as a surprise, since things lean more towards the darker death / thrash side at the outset. But when the chant of “We don’t give a fuck!” breaks out during the title track, you know you’ve just been flipped (off).

It may just be the similarity to “Welcome to Hell” but “Do What Thou Wilt” is ridiculously good, so much so that it bears repeating, apparently. The more rockin’ Venom-isms continue through the eponymous “Maax” and “Rot and Roll” before taking a heavier turn with “Overthrone” and “Black Thrash ‘Em All,” and then evening out for the final two tracks. All the while, Maax never sounds contrived or rehashed. Their influences come through loud and clear, but not in a way that comes off as simply aping them, rather that they identify with them and are just trying to continue down the road that they paved.

Maax prefers their metal to be rebellious rather than Satanic, and having exchanged the latter for the former, they keep the whole rocking, twisted, evil vibe without the over-the-top lyrical content. Part of their bio states “WE ARE HEAVY METAL,” eschewing finicky sub-genre labeling for simple truth. Check them out and rediscover all that you loved about this music in the first place.

Posted by Dave Pirtle

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