The wait is over, the band that was originally known as Super Stroke, will be releasing their much anticipated album on March 22 via Frontiers. The band finally settled on The EndMachine for the name and kept things simple with the album being self-titled. Frontiers have put together a slew of projects but none of them has had the buzz they have created. When you have a line-up of George Lynch (guitar), Jeff Pilson (bass), Mick Brown (drums), and current vocalist for Warrant Robert Mason, people will start talking. To break it down, your getting Dokken, without Don Dokken, and inserting Mason, or you can look at it as getting the line-up of Lynch Mob in 1992, minus Anthony Esposito, add adding Pilson on bass.
This album was spawned by several writing sessions between Pilson and Lynch. Bringing in Mick Brown locked in the rhythm section and a familiar chemistry. Robert Mason jumped aboard and contributed with some writing and poof, this eleven-track album was born.
“Leap Of Faith” opens the record with a groove inspired riff and mid-tempo pacing. I was anticipating something more aggressive or flamboyant to kick things off but I wasn’t disappointed with it. The song is soaked in a thick groove and a melody that attaches itself to you. This really sets the table for the overall approach and sound of the entire record. “Hold Me Down” kicks the tempo up and Pilson’s bass instantly grabbed my attention. I love where it sits in the mix and you feel the bottom end of this song thump your chest. The verses are subdued with a guitar riff that dances above the bass line until the song opens up in the chorus.
Track three might be my early favorite on the album. The song is called “No Game” and it stuck with me on one listen. The opening guitar part has a bit of an AC/DC feel to it. The tone of the guitar and feel during the verses takes me back to that 1992 Lynch Mob record and the song “The Secret” (my all time favorite song by them, I know its not the popular pick but deal with it.) The chorus is addicting and you will be singing this one long after its finished. “Bulletproof” is a slower number that relies on the groove to carry the song along. The hook is a slow burn; it doesn’t jump through the speakers to grab you, but it does work it’s way to you. The fastest song on the album is “Ride It.” It’s a straight-ahead rocker that allows Lynch to insert one of his fret blazing solos.
The soulful “Burn The Truth” features an acoustic guitar intro before being joined by the rhythm section. This is one those songs that just feels good to listen to. There is a very interesting vocal harmonizing section, think of Queen, before the intensity is taken up a notch. “Hard Road” has cool guitar riff and catchy chorus. Its approach is more simplistic and clocks in as the shortest song of the eleven with a running time of four minutes.
When the first single was released, “Alive Today,” it was interesting to see the comments scattered throughout various social media outlets. People saying it sounds exactly like old Dokken, or ’92 Lynch Mob, and even Jeff Pilson’s project War & Peace. I’m going to call it a great song done by The End Machine. The song has a feel good vibe to it and brings the classic rock sound forward to modern relevance. The bass breakdown before the solo sounds so amazing that I felt like putting that section on repeat. The catchiest song to me is “Line Of Division.” The verses and choruses hook you in the entire time. The way the song breaks down after the solo for George to lay down some sick guitar licks screams Lynch Mob. The other familiar element is the tambourine that seems to sit front and center in the mix during the chorus. As funny as it sounds, and maybe I’m losing my mind, but that tambourine has a Lynch Mob tattoo on it.
The longest song, clocking in at almost seven minutes, is “Sleeping Voices.” It’s probably best described as power ballad and early on this song had me lost. The guitar section in the verses caught me off guard and it felt odd, something really different that I couldn’t pin down. Once the chorus hits, and you feel the urgency and the emotion of the song in its crescendo, it all made sense. The song is really powerful and continues to grow on me with every listen. The last track “Life Is Love Is Music” feels uncomplicated and lets the upbeat melody drive the song. The joyous atmospheric vibration of it feels good and finishes the album with an uplifting flavor.
I’ve already been asked multiple times if this record sounds like Dokken or LynchMob? What does it compare to? How do the songs stack up against past material? All fair questions given the players in this band, but in the end, you’re going to sell this album short if you compare it to the past. Classics like “Into The Fire,” “In My Dreams,” and “Breaking The Chains” have had decades to build a legacy in fans minds that grew up with them. I have a long history with that music and to expect something done in 2019, no matter how great it may be, is going to match those iconic songs is unrealistic. If you can view this record as an independent entity that stands alone, I think you will get more out of it. Make no mistake though, there are elements of past projects scattered throughout this album. When you thick about the quality of that material, I think that is a good thing.
The team of Brown and Pilson provided the backbone of the music and the effort on this record is top flight. The legacy of George Lynch is firmly cemented in guitar lore. He’s in that select few that people can recognize his playing as easy as it is to distinguish a great singers voice. The vocal performance of Robert Mason is spectacular. He is so dynamic and delivered whatever was called for. He owned every minute of these songs and you feel his passion come through on this record. Jeff Pilson produced this album, as it seems anything he touches sounds great and this one is no exception. The End Machine is a solid record and contains some great material. I would have liked one or two more rockers at full tilt but hopefully we get a follow-up release down the road. As I’ve said before, this album won’t replace those classic albums but I don’t think that was the intention of this recording. This was about making the best music possible in the here and now and I believe they did that. The best statement about The End Machine that can sum it up is that it’s something very familiar but all together different at the same time.
There are a few live dates listed. Will Hunt (Evanescence) will be filling in for Mick Brown on drums.
April 04 – Whisky A Go Go – Los Angeles, CA
April 05 – Count’s Vamp’d – Las Vegas, NV
April 06 – Encore – Tucson, AZ