Maxx12 "RAW" - Bad Blood Illuminati ~ CD Review by Scott Thomas
Well, well, well... What do we have here? I just got this new CD in the mail today from the band (trio) Maxx12. I'm sitting here checking out the neat looking CD cover and I must say the packaging looks very enticing. The disc of music, art, photos, links and press release is called ‘Bad Blood – Illuminati’. Do I feel an air of conspiracy here…?
I opened up the CD to find a really cool graphic of T. Michael Riddle (Guitarist and Vocalist), Jon Hampton (Bassist) and Craig Martin (Drummer) posing in action figure arrangement in front of what looks like the ruins of the Twin Towers in NYC. Yep! I was right… What we have here is bad blood... Now that my interest is peaked, I find out that this hard copy media disk is full of other things besides music. As I previously mentioned, there are also links to press releases, several high quality photos, and a really entertaining but short video clip introducing the band and to let you know what this digitally compressed media package is all about. And you will also find links to all of Maxx12's social sites too. And this is where you will also find the music too on Reverbnation ... I'm sitting here thinking that this band has gone ‘all out’ on this project / production… All the while, peaking my imagination even more. The music included here is actually from their CD "RAW".
So, here we goooooooo... As I sit hear and listen to the tunes blasting from my speakers, I soon realize that Maxx12 is trying to take their production and music to an all new level in aural entertainment. Their debut album "Raw", offers up classic hard rock and more. T. Michael Riddle's guitar antics and fretwork comes at you full throttle and is relentless. The songs "Mongoose Elephant Memory" and the Satriani persuasion inspired instrumental "Race Car" are testaments to this. Jon Hampton’s thundering bass playing is monstrous.
The band’s ideas and songs stem from the spiritual belief in the Mayan / Nostradamus predictions of the great cataclysm that was foretold... Sounds scary huh?
The engine kicking all these pistons into high-gear and driving this rock n roll machine forward is Drummer Craig Martin. He does an excellent job keeping the pace for the well written songs. One of the songs that reached out to me instantly was the tune "Wild Years". Everything about this tune touched home with me. The melody, chorus, lyrics, guitar solo and of course T. Michael's impeccable singing. The vibe took me back in time when life wasn't so serious and all was care free. And yes, back to those 'wild years'.
"Moonshine Runner / Electrified Blue" (two motifs in a single track) begins as a hypnotic acoustic number to include harmonica in tow. It almost sounds as if the guys are sitting around a bonfire while conjuring up indigenous shaman spirits of yesteryear with their music as the illusive figures dance around the flames to T. Michael's wailing beckoning call. Then the electrified instruments come into play to give the listener the rock-side of things. The sounds are very eerie indeed as T. Michael repetitively and unnervingly laments over and over, "as the lightning strikes!”
The short rocker "Politoco" is a kick in the arse and gets your heart pumping and the lead solo on this track just screams. The tune "Heaven" slows things down with an acoustic ballad. Maestro T. Michael plays this reflective piece nicely and will have you floating on air. The only instruments here are the guitar and his nicely done enjoyable vocals. "Bad Blood (Illuminati)" starts out acoustically then goes into a ZZ Top inspired romp. This tune was used in their entertaining official music video that you can easily find on the Maxx12 website and or Youtube. And once again, T. Michael tears up and shreds the guitar solo to pieces on this track leaving nothing but a smokey haze. And lastly, the album is closed with a beautifully played acoustic guitar baroque piece of music called "The Mast".
1. Mongoose Elephant Memory (Produced By: Ronnie Montrose)
2. Race Car (Produced By: Ronnie Montrose)
3. Wild Years
4. Moonshine Runner/ Electrified Blue
7. Bad Blood Illuminati (Produced By: Ronnie Montrose)
8. The Mast
Parting Shot Across the Bow: An American classic rock Album and gem for those that like rock candy... Favorite Tunes "Wild Years" and "Bad Blood (Illuminati).