The End Machine – Phase2
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 09/04/2021
Running Time: 55:08
Review by Simon Black
You gotta love the gall of the guys over at Frontiers. You want to sign your rock heroes, but can’t because the brand names they are famous for are locked up in legal rights hell over at a major label somewhere. The solution – create a new ‘Power Group’ act built around said hero (providing that they and their great-grandchildren are not locked into some kind of exclusivity deal), add a bunch of associated musicians, with the brief to recreate the sound and sensibilities of the glory years and thereby bypass the legal landmines. The End Machine basically does this with George Lynch, so you end up with an act that has an uncanny resemblance to a hybrid of Dokken and Lynch Mob without having to spend more money in legal fees than on studio time and session musicians, in a day and age where, more than ever, making money is about high volumes and wafer thin low margins for labels.
This really has a very strong classic Dokken feel to it, but the Lynch Mob ethos predominates, with lots of blues tinged Hard Rock vibes to it – and this is not surprising when the musical backbone is Dokken stalwarts George Lynch and Jeff Pilson, with Lynch Mob singer Robert Mason and Steve Brown, the brother of retired classic Dokken drummer Mick Brown, on the sticks and skins. The classic Dokken / Lynch Mob tropes are all there, with the added benefit of Lynch really allowing his love of the Blues to free flow, with some extended and soulful guitar solo work that positively ripples from the speakers. OK, we’re always going to miss that lovely vibrato of old Don, but he’s got the brand locked away tight and having Mason on board works really well regardless.
What I was not aware of was that this is the second time around for this outfit, which has the maturity and stylistic ease of a group of musicians who are all comfortable with working together. This is really solid, well-crafted Melodic Rock, where no one member of the band is allowed to hog the lime light. It’s got that really cohesive feel to it that and I cannot point a finger at one track on here with the accusation of “filler”. So consistent in fact, that it’s a struggle to point you to a stand out track, although ‘Prison Or Paradise’ and the harmony-laden ‘Plastic Heroes’ come pretty close, which is pure anthemic Hard Rock heaven. As always from this genre we get the odd syrupy ballad (stand up ‘Scars’) but this is saved from any hint of mediocrity from that soulful gutsy voice and Lynch’s anthemic guitar lines.
So, loving or loathing these Supergroup records is a matter of personal tastes and faux ethical pride. To be honest I’m all for these projects where we know nothing is ever going to get the originals back in a studio together in this lifetime and if the quality can be kept this consistent who the hell really cares?
‘Blood And Money’ (Official Video)
01. The Rising
02. Blood And Money
03. We Walk Alone
04. Dark Divide
05. Crack The Sky
06. Prison Or Paradise
07. Plastic Heroes
09. Shine Your Light
10. Devils Playground
11. Born Of Fire
George Lynch – Guitar
Jeff Pilson – Bass, Keyboards & Background Vocals
Steve Brown – Drums & Background Vocals
Robert Mason – Lead & Background Vocals
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