Pour some whiskey and crank the volume for the guys over at Madstone. This hard-hitting group of southern rockers know what they’re about and come out swinging with every track.

Their slick melodies blast their way up through a bombardment of howling guitar riffs, cascading bass grooves, and the bludgeoning drum section that all twists together to crash through the wall like a sonic sledgehammer.

It’s not all driving thunder and rattling bones from these 70’s and 80’s infused shredders, though. Dynamics are what set the good apart from the great, and Madstone is at a caliber above the competition. Heavy Rain showcases this like a hurricane. A clean tone opens up with the drums setting the pace - the open space here glides as smooth as Skynyrd’s Tuesday’s Gone and is soon contrasted to a dense delivery of smooth vocals, a crunchy guitar, and heavy hitting 4/4 drum section that grabs you by the throat and commands you to move. Soon after the clouds break to the eye of the storm where you can catch your breath while being lulled down-stream before the fist pumping, head banging, refrain sets back in place.

Songs like Heavy Rain, Mr. Bone’s Wild Ride, and She Said No follow this formula where they should, and break it at just the right points. There’s never a smooth transition that lasts too long before the glass is shattered by a fist-full of hard-rock riffing, and there’s never a demon howling rebel yell that lasts too long as to become noise. It’s all dialed in and on point to keep every song fresh from the thunderous beginning of the set to the distortion driven dynamo ending.

James Stone leads the band with his razor sharp vocals that come off smooth as bourbon. Tommy “Mad Dog” Souza is the thunder bringer driving home every measure as sharp as the banner carrier of any stadium band like Whitesnake or the Allman Brothers. Al Young holds the low end down well enough to rock the house down with The Outlaws, and Mark Doolin stretches the genre of Southern Rock to give a taste of everything we love out of the 80’s rock and metal scene. From Paso Robles, CA, Madstone is here to rock.

Dustin Saksek - WAIL Music Magazine

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