The End Machine’s 2019 debut for Frontiers Records presented almost an hour’s worth of classic sounding hard rock. Its sound was exactly as you’d expect from a couple of musicians associated with Dokken and the ex-vocalist from Lynch Mob. It’s higher octane tracks gave George Lynch every opportunity to hammer his fretboard, while the darker and slower workouts put bassist Jeff Pilson squarely in the spotlight. Most importantly, a lot of the numbers wielded huge choruses to great effect, often giving vocalist Robert Mason (ex-Cry of Love/Warrant) plenty to work with. In terms of melodic metal, it was a great disc – certainly much better than Dokken had managed in a few years.
In the hands of inspiring musicians looking to have a little fun, a covers album can be a wonderful thing. From Sandie Shaw’s ‘Reviewing The Situation’ in 1969 (an LP that was happy to boast the world’s first Led Zeppelin cover), to Bryan Ferry’s 1973 release ‘These Foolish Things’ and Powerman 5000’s ‘Copies, Clones & Replicants’, some of the best covers albums are ones that show artists unafraid to remake songs in their own image.
Early in 2015, ex-Dokken guitarist George Lynch teamed up with Stryper vocalist Michael Sweet. Their resultant album ‘Only To Rise’ contained a bunch of feel good hard rock tunes with big choruses. This release by Lynch Mob, released only seven months later, lacks the general joie de vive of the Sweet & Lynch project. It seems somewhat underwhelming by comparison and is certainly less varied, but maybe that’s precisely George’s point: everything has a darker side. Over the years, Lynch Mob have released some decent albums. While many hard rock fans tend to gravitate towards their late 80s debut due to its classic sound, the later discs bring plenty in the way of huge riffs. 2003’s ‘REvolution’ showed the band at their absolute heaviest and had plenty to recommend it, particularly if you enjoy riffs in dropped keys. In more recent years, their first release for Frontiers Records – 2014’s ‘Sun Red Sun’ – mixed classic rock sounds with the darker edge of ‘REvolution’ and achieved enjoyable results, resulting in their biggest US chart success to date.
Veronica “The V” Freeman will be familar to some as the vocalist with power metallers Benedictum, a US/Euro outfit who often favour bombast over decent songs. Her first solo release, 2015’s ‘Now Or Never’ (released via Frontiers Records, home of the previous two Benedictum discs) retains a fair amount of heaviness, but brings in a much welcome melodic element. The dozen featured numbers hark back to the days of classic eighties sounding metal, with tunes regularly casting Freeman in a Doro Pesche-esque mould.