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Review: Madhouse – Braindead

by Ivona Bogner

Madhouse – Braindead

1. Break the Ice
2. Never Say Die
3. Who Made You God
4. Poisoned Blood
5. Braindead
6. Save Your Soul
7. Last Man Standing
8. Knights Of Avalon
9. Oscar
10. Evil Fantasies
11. Psycho God (Remix)

Label: Irons Shield Records
Date: June 12, 2020

A few weeks ago, Madhouse posted on their FB page a thank you note, where, among the others, our magazine was mentioned. Although it is really hard to confuse me, I have to admit, they did it. Just in case I missed something, I asked my boss does he know what it is all about. Nothing. Then, I somehow remembered I asked the band for a mini interview. Since they were too kind to mention us in that post, now I have to write a review in return. Damn! Just joking! It was already planned, and there is no option I could forget to write a review of Madhouse’s second full length “Braindead”. 

Madhouse is German band, formed back in 1987. I was seven than, so luckily they waited for a couple of years to release their first album so I can grow up and find out what metal is all about. Just that couple of years turned to 31 years since their debut album was released in 2018.  You have to admit guys have studiously approach to their work. But, better late than never! That album, “Metal or Die”, from the start to an end, led me to the one question or maybe conclusion. Only the people from Balkans will understand what I will write now: Madhouse sounds exactly the same if Hladno Pivo (Croatian punk band) vocalist, Mile Kekin, will sing metal!

As the first album “Metal or Die” might be put in Traditional Heavy Metal drawer, “Braindead” goes to Thrash Metal direction. “Break the Ice” punches so brutal and I just hope the rest of the album goes in the same direction, and that direction might lean on Annihilator/Antrax sound based on what we heard in the first song. When I read “Never Say Die”, it evokes the spirit of my childhood, pulls to the side of Bon Jovi. Do not worry if you never heard about Bon Jovi’s “Never Say Die”, I am old, and trust me, Madhouse’s “Never Say Die” is pure Thrash potential anthem.  I would dare to write that opening riff is Motorhead reincarnation. “Who Made You God”, at the other hand, is my personal anthem these days when we have demonstrations (read riots) all over the country against dictatorship. “Poisoned Blood”, brings less speed, but still keeps energy high. The first song I have heard from this album is”Braindead” and somehow, always the first one I hear is my favorite. Pounding opening riff wrapped in whispers, lead us to the song that once again is focused on political leaders.

Out of the silence I hear voices calling,
Calling my name in the dark…

Have you ever had bad dreams? Do you know that feeling of anxiety, fear, helplessness even in your dream or reality? Yes, “Save Your Soul” is a song in which you will face all nightmares.

“Last Man Standing”, same as “Poisoned Blood”, slows down a bit, but the energy is still there and the chorus is quite melodic and easy to remember. 

With “Knights of Avalon” Madhouse proved they can stand face to face with first class metal bands. This is an epic song, not in the sense of the longest one as many people think these days (as longer the song- more epic it is). Epic in the sense of its structure.  The one that will stand the test of time.

“Oscar”, highway killer, is again the song with a few riffs Lemmy would be proud of. This one has to be on concert playlist, someday, somehow…

Another bullet that will for sure hit you right between the eyes is “Evil Fantasies”. Really strong one, pounding but melodic at the same time, and just when I thought “Oscar” or “Braindead” might be my favorites, “Evil Fantasies” won the race.

Although “Braindead” is more powerful and more professional produced than then “Metal or Die”, still “Metal or Die” is closer to my heart. That is my personal opinion. Professionally speaking, “Braindead” is very fluid, mature, dynamic, powerful, galloping, melodic, energizing album. If you ask me what stands out on this album with no doubt I would say beautiful twin guitar harmonies. 

Although I mentioned that Madhouse reminds me of Motorhead, Antrax or Annihilator here and there, some might say there are some early Helloween, Running Wild or Accept influences, there is one truth: Madhouse is as original as it can be. The finest piece of German metal. 


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