MAXINE PETRUCCI – BACK TO THE GARDEN
Released on January 13, 2013 by Angelina Records
So this is sort of an odd record to have stumbled across. Guitarist Maxine Petrucci is best known, if she’s known at all, as the leader of 80’s metal band Madam X, which at one point featured her sister Roxy on drums before the latter moved on to Vixen. They also later featured a young Sebastian Bach on vocals before he wound up in Skid Row (no recordings though). Madam X’s sole album, We Reserve The Right, made nary a dent in the music scene and the band got swept under the rug when their label, Jet Records, went bankrupt. Maxine kicked around for a while before eventually forming her own band in the mid-2000’s when it seemed 80’s-style hard rock was making a minor comeback. This marks album number three and it is my first taste of her and her band. The usual 80’s guitar sound and production values are all present and in some ways it’s a typical release for the genre, although the sound is a little thin for me. As a guitarist Maxine tends to shred more than crunch, and the music leans a little more towards prog than out-n-out metal. As a vocalist, however, she’s in a whole other ballpark. Her singing style reminds me of Gwen Stefani of all people, and indeed from a song structure standpoint the music is also reminiscent of No Doubt, although you’d be hard-pressed to say the band’s sound alike. There’s a herky-jerky vibe to the songs and Maxine’s singing is very high-pitched and erratic, bucking traditional rock form for a more experimental sound. It’s a weird crossover and indeed a couple of songs in I was ready to write the whole thing off as “not my cup of tea”. But I let it play out and damn if the thing didn’t grow on me a bit by the end. It’s not something I’m likely to play with any frequency (if I ever play it again at all), but it was different and interesting. Certainly not what I was expecting given the cover and pedigree.
Featured track: “Assassinate”
PRO-1, VOC-1, MUS-1, SNG-0, MSC-1 TOTAL-4