Swiss rockers Shakra have been a permanent fixture on the Central European rock scene for a quarter of a century now, delivering the same solid mixture of rockers and ballads over the course of a dozen albums that their legion of fans lap up time after time. This latest album, Mad World, is no different; In fact, a cynic might say it’s exactly the same as the other six records they’ve recorded with vocalist Mark Fox at the mic…

That’s true to an extent, but it’s also true that there isn’t much you can do by way of spreading the musical horizons of melodic hard rock. We want stonking, musclebound anthems with a smattering of gentler, lighter waving ballads, right? That being the case, Shakra once again deliver the goods irrefutably.

Much like their close relatives Gotthard and Pretty Maids, Shakra hit their creative motherlode years ago, and are now just refining the art. Hence tracks like Too Much Is Not Enough are basically faultless expositions of the art of Scorpions-styled rabble rousing. Fox’s pleasingly gritty vocal leads from the front, backed by muscular – but never out of control – riffage from Thom Blunier and Thomas Muster. Bassist Dominik Pfister gets in on the act with some nice work on the slightly heavier A Roll Of The Dice, whilst the whole band work together well on the urgent Thousand Kings, propelled by some great drumming from Roger Tanner and Blunier’s most impressive lead work.

The band saves the best til final track New Tomorrow, a balladic gem of a track that shows that, even after a quarter of a century in the game Shakra still have the desire to keep churning out finely-crafted nuggets of hard rock grandeur; As noted, they bring nothing new to the table with Mad World; However what they do bring over the course of these dozen tracks is more than good enough to warrant your time and attention.

Mad World is out now.