Madlife – “21st Century Megalomaniac” Review

Madlife – “21st Century Megalomaniac” Released May 14th, 2013.

Exhilarating and wild. This isn’t a freak show, it’s smart and naughty. God knows there’s plenty little of that in this world.

Madlife’s newest offering, EP, “21st Century Megalomaniac” is not for the faint of heart. Looking for some mood music, a little lull-you-to-sleep-action? Yeah, this ain’t it. Madlife is industrial-rock, all grown up, and nailing it both musically and with a message that resonates to anyone with a brain swift enough to understand sarcasm and nuance. Making inroads on Mediabase Active Rock Radio and more, Madlife has already hit it with the single “Live and Die in Hollywood” and coming up is the knock out “Just One Gun.”

On first listen I was hooked. I was sure I had found the soundtrack to that dirty little fantasy my friends call “and now what do we do with the body?” Okay, so I might have a sick sense of humor, I like to think of it as a coping strategy. Seriously, MadLife’s “21st Century Megalomaniac” is angry, fantasy, roaring, and smart. Stopping well short of juvenile and destructive, Madlife’s lyrics make short work of life in these United States down below the red, white, and blue anthem. They cut down to the bare facts of irritation, desperation, and monotony. And they make it strangely fun. Set to a rousing, pounding rock beat mixed up with electronics and noise, this is accessible, listenable, and rousing. Based out of LA, Madlife isn’t holding back, they are wild and reaching, alive and fresh. Plug in, people.

#1 – “Just One Gun” ~ I accept that I’m a sucker for a song that tears open with a crazy vocal asking me “Do you want to sing that angry song with me?” The answer? What do I get to do? Singer Angry Phil states “the video for ‘Just One Gun’ is about the day In a life of a gun. How it can be manipulated into doing whatever the human wants it to do. Whether it be sexy, deadly, or promoting violence.” (from an interview with Jonathan Barkan for www.bloody-disgusting.com) Coming so close to the Boston bombing and all the other crazy shit in the news, I am very happy to hear that this song is meant to be commentary and give perspective. Roaring and pounding with harmony and a chorus that demands you rise to your feet, fists in the air, “Just One Gun” is a tribute to our social and cultural ruts and black water.

#2 – “Live and Die in Hollywood” ~ Without abrading the eardrums, this song drives and beats, energizes and pounds, and twists and turns as it rocks along. Full of electronic touches, this is new while feeling rather familiar, like a song from a favorite soundtrack. What does that possibly mean? Just listen.

#3 – “I Know the Feeling” ~ Metal guitar and heavy drum work steps aside only for Angry Phil’s vocals as he sings a song of despair – “This tragic picture that you see is me…I know the feeling, I can’t believe that it’s all inside of me.” If you have a day job, it’s inside of you, too. Add a little synthesizer, it will feel a little better. Crank this up on your way home from the office.

#4 – “Pain of Pleasure” ~ Smartly designed electronic work mixes with crushing drum, guitar, and flexing vocals. The energy crashes and soothes through the song, never relenting.

#5 – “Still Alive” ~ There is comfort here in the churning melody. “This toxic pain is my only shell. I am still alive.” Somehow bringing to lyrical light the mess of emotions we only whisper to ourselves. Madlife slices through without hitting an artery. This is a battle cry, not a cry for depressant-pharma-therapy. “Do you want to scream?” Yes, Angry Phil, most days that would be helpful.

For those of you on the solid classic rock train, aren’t you tired? At least a little sleepy? Madlife offers rock blended with exotic synthesizer work. The sound grinds along, enjoyably, never straying too far from metal, filling the air with sensual, driving musical style that on the surface is edgy but below is the naughty little story most of us only whisper inside our throbbing heads.

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