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Sweet & Lynch – Only to Rise [Review]

61lIvlJe4+LSweet & Lynch – Only to Rise
2015, Frontiers Records
Buy the album

1. The Wish
2. Dying Rose
3. Love Stays
4. Time Will Tell
5. Rescue Me
6. Me Without You
7. Recover
8. Divine
9. September
10. Strength in Numbers
11. Hero-Zero
12. Only to Rise

Band:
Michael Sweet – Vocals, Guitar
George Lynch – Guitar
James LoMenzo – Bass
Brian Tichy – Drums

Producer: Michael Sweet

Sweet & Lynch is supergroup in a long line of supergroups put together at the request of the Italy-based melodic rock label Frontiers Records. The difference this time is that I can actually pronounce the names and know who all of these guys are! Also, in contract to many of Frontier’s other all-star projects, Michael Sweet offered to take over as producer and he and George Lynch co-wrote all of the songs. Generally, for these label projects the album would use outside songwriters and producers.

Looking at the band roster I have to say that Sweet & Lynch is as strong of a rock supergroup as there has been in awhile. While Stryper’s Michael Sweet and Dokken/Lynch Mob’s George Lynch are obviously the focal point, the names of bassist James LoMenzo (White Lion / Megadeth / Black Label Society) and journeyman drummer Brian Tichy (Whitesnake) should be recognizable to more than a few hard rock fans.

As for the music, Sweet Lynch stays within the realm of what made them popular. I wouldn’t put this album on the level of the last few Stryper & Sweet solo albums, but fans of¬†Stryper, Dokken and/or Lynch Mob, should find no trouble enjoying this melodic hard rockin’ album.

Highlights: “Love Stays”, “Time Will Tell”, “Me Without You”, “Recover”, “Only to Rise”

LYNCH MOB – Smoke and Mirrors

Lynch Mob – Smoke and Mirrors (2009, Frontiers Records – German Import)

1. “21st Century Man” … 4:55
2. “Smoke and Mirrors” … 5:00
3. “Lucky Man” … 4:29
4. “My Kind of Healer” … 3:33
5. “Time Keepers” … 6:54
6. “Revolution Heroes” … 4:01
7. “Let The Music Be Your Master” … 6:19
8. “The Facist” … 4:10
9. “Where Do You Sleep At Night” … 3:50
10. “Madly Backwards” … 4:12
11. “We Will Remain” … 4:37
12. “Before I Close My Eyes” … 4:43
BONUS TRACK
13. “Mansions In The Sky” … 4:19

Band:
Oni Logan – Lead Vocals
George Lynch – Guitars
Marco Mendoza – Bass, Backing Vocals
Scot Coogan – Drums, Backing Vocals

Producer: Lynch Mob, Bob Kulick, Brett Chassen

After only hearing Lynch Mob’s debut Wicked Sensation and read so many negatives about the later experimental George Lynch/Lynch Mob albums, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one. I was thinking it would probably be a less rocking, more melodic affair, but I still expected to hear some fiery George Lynch solos.

Well, I can say that album is not as chest-thumping as Wicked Sensation (an album that was pretty much a full-force “hair metal” release), but it is no soft AOR album either. In fact, what the returning Lynch Mob brings us is a solid bluesy melodic hard rock album where George is decidedly a band member and not the band himself. Even Oni Logan’s voice has changed. Whether by choice or by time, he sounds richer and deeper and doesn’t wail as he did on the band’s debut. His voice definitely suits the bluesier sound of this album.

I wasn’t immediately into this album, it’s a definite grower. Nothing jumped out and grabbed me like some songs on Wicked Sensation did and Smoke and Mirrors can’t compare to it, but this is still a very good release for fans of Lynch Mob and melodic rock in general. The opener “21st Century Man” is a great way to kick things off because it almost sounds like the Lynch Mob of old and “Smoke and Mirrors” is a really bluesy rocker that reminds me a lot of Bad Company (Logan especially sounds like he’s doing his best Paul Rodgers). Those two songs would be my favorites.

This is only Oni Logan’s seconding outing with Lynch Mob. After Wicked Sensation, he was replaced by Robert Mason (now in Big Cock and Warrant). While Marco Mendoza (Blue Murder/Whitesnake/Ted Nugent) and Scot Coogan (Brides of Destruction) are new to the group, the original Lynch Mob line-up tried to reunite a few years ago, but they didn’t get past the writing stage and Robert Mason stepped in again.

This album supposedly was released in the U.S., but I had to go through CDUniverse.com and order the German import (which was available on their site the day the U.S. version was released) for about $14. Everything is printed in English, but what’s really funny is when I put the CD into my computer to play, Windows Media Player lists the album and song titles in what I assume to be Japanese. I gotta keep the track list on hand for this one! There is no difference between any of the imports or the U.S. version. They all feature the same “bonus track” – “Mansions In The Sky”. So again, is it really a “bonus”?

Highlights: “21st Century Man”, “Smoke and Mirrors”, “My Kind of Healer”, “Time Keepers”, “The Facist”, “Where Do You Sleep At Night”, “Mansions In The Sky”

georgelynch.ning.com
www.myspace.com/lynchmobrocks

THIS IS ’80s HAIR METAL

This Is ’80s Hair Metal (2003, Deadline Records/Cleopatra Records)

Disc One: STUDIO FUELED
1. “Cherry Pie” by Warrant … 3:05
2. “Someone Like You” by Bang Tango … 4:24
3. “Cum on Feel the Noize” by Quiet Riot … 4:38
4. “Smooth Up” by Bulletboys … 5:03
5. “Pissed” by Dangerous Toys … 4:10
6. “Sex Action” by L.A. Guns … 3:53
7. “Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz” by Pretty Boy Floyd … 4:07
8. “Bathroom Wall” by Faster Pussycat … 4:58
9. “Little Teaser” by Jetboy … 3:14
10. “Love Removal Machine” by Great White … 4:29
11. “Make It Go Away” by Michael Monroe … 3:01
12. “Tooth & Nail” Lynch Mob … 3:24
13. “Mean Street Machine” by King Kobra … 4:24
14. “River Gold” by Hurricane … 4:04
15. “Black Out” by Love/Hate … 2:56

Disc Two: LIVE & DANGEROUS
1. “Gypsy Road” by Cinderella … 3:39
2. “Kiss Me Deadly” by Lita Ford … 4:21
3. “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman)” by Great White … 2:38
4. “One More Reason” by L.A. Guns … 3:49
5. “(You Can Still) Rock in America” by Night Ranger … 5:37
6. “Hollywood” by Junkyard … 2:50
7. “Dressed Up Vamp” by Bang Tango … 4:30
8. “Around Again” by Union … 5:53
9. “Teas’n, Pleas’n” by Dangerous Toys … 4:41
10.¬† “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love” by L.A. Guns … 2:18
11. “Wrathchild” by Paul DiAnno … 2:48
12. “Somebody Save Me” by Cinderella … 2:57
13. “Ramble On” by Great White … 4:36
14. “What You Say” by Saigon Kick … 3:49

Disc Three: POWER BALLADS
1. “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Bret Michaels … 4:49
2. “When the Children Cry” by White Lion … 6:17
3. “Headed for a Heartbreak” by Kip Winger … 2:56
4. “Ballad of Jayne” by L.A. Guns … 5:15
5. “House of Pain” by Faster Pussycat … 7:50
6. “Ready for Love” by Great White … 4:40
7. “Sometimes She Cries” by Warrant … 4:38
8. “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (‘Til It’s Gone)” by Cinderella … 5:39
9. “Dream On” by Ronnie James Dio & Yngwie Malmsteen … 4:28
10. “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger … 5:15
11. “Close My Eyes Forever” by Lita Ford … 5:02
12. “Lights” by Tuff … 3:11
13. “Still Lovin’ You” Steve Whiteman & George Lynch … 4:52
14. “Here I Go Again” by Bernie Shaw & Bernie Madsen … 4:01
15. ??? … 3:59

Oddball hair metal compilation that I picked up from FYE shortly after it’s release. I can’t remember how much I paid for it, but I don’t think it was too much. Maybe around $15 or so, which is a good thing because as you can expect from an indie hair metal compilation — these are not the original recordings. In some cases, not even the original artists are used! Ex-Dokken guitarist George Lynch and his band Lynch Mob sub for Dokken on “Tooth & Nail”, Bret Michaels stands in for his own band Poison and then there’s the odd inclusion of Great White’s cover of The Cult’s “Love Removal Machine” (this cover has apparently made its way around many a compilations). Another odd bit is that for some reason, Love/Hate’s “Black Out in the Red Room” is now simply called “Black Out”.

Back to the re-recordings, I actually like some of these versions better than the originals (though I think it’s also possible some of these songs were demos). Working on a small budget and stripped of the overproduction that was common in the ’80s, many of these songs sound fresh, raw and energetic compared to the originals. Disc One is nothing but studio recordings and Warrant’s re-recording of “Cherry Pie” is my favorite track and I think I actually like it better than the original version. Not all of Disc One is as enjoyable though– Joe Leste and Marq Torien struggle to hit their notes on “Someone Like You” and “Smooth Up”, respectively. Then there’s the awful industrialized version of “Bathroom Wall”. Look, why does this industrial garbage version of Faster Pussycat keep getting work on these hair compilations? If Taime Downe doesn’t want to represent the music in an accurate manner, I’m sure most hair metal fans would rather Faster Pussycat is not included at all.

Disc Two is nothing but live songs. The quality (and performances) vary greatly. Disc Three is power ballads, re-recordings again, but there’s some live versions as well. On Disc Three, there is a 15th track that I cannot find any info on (my slipcase/jewel case are in storage), but the song definitely does not belong here. I’ve never heard it before and it sounds like some mellow acoustic rock/pop you’d hear on the pop stations. I’m sure there’s some hair metal connection, but sonically, it’s not there. Anyone know the song title and artist?

Personally, I wouldn’t really say “this is ’80s metal”. Not when there’s so many cover songs (by Great White alone!), re-recordings and original artists are missing. The inclusion of Union alone is enough to strike down that this is a tribute to the ’80s (they didn’t formed until 1997)! Basically, the album is hit-or-miss. It’s an inconsistent three disc set, but despite the shady marketing, I still think this is a decent collection for anyone who is heavily into the hair metal scene. There’s enough gems here to make up for having to dig through the garbage to get to them.

Highlights:
Disc One: “Cherry Pie”, “Pissed”, “Sex Action”, “Love Removal Machine”, “Tooth & Nail”, “Mean Street Machine”
Disc Two: “Gypsy Road”, “(You Can Still) Rock In America”, “Hollywood”, “Ramble On”
Disc Three: “When the Children Cry”, “Ready for Love”, “Dream On”, “Still Lovin’ You”

Buy THIS IS ’80s HAIR METAL at Amazon.com

LYNCH MOB – Wicked Sensation

Lynch Mob – Wicked Sensation (1990, Elektra Records)

1. “Wicked Sensation” … 4:42
2. “River of Love” … 4:22
3. “Sweet Sister Mercy” … 3:45
4. “All I Want” … 5:05
5. “Hell Child” … 4:51
6. “She’s Evil But She’s Mine” … 5:10
7. “Dance of the Dogs” … 3:47
8. “Rain” … 4:54
9. “No Bed of Roses” … 4:21
10. “Through These Eyes” … 5:16
11. “For a Million Years” … 6:18
12. “Street Fighting Man” … 4:49

Band:
Oni Logan: Lead Vocals
George Lynch: Guitar
Anthony Esposito: Bass
Mick Brown: Drums

Produced by: Max Norman

Being that I’ve never been too terribly impressed with Dokken, I was always hesitant to give Lynch Mob a try, which ex-Dokken guitarist George Lynch started up. I think it was CD Universe I eventually picked this one up from and it was relatively cheap. The deciding factor though was when I was browsing through the comic book store on Friday afternoon years ago and they were playing the local rock station, which at 5PM on Fridays would always play three “hair metal” songs. “Wicked Sensation” was one of those songs and I immediately loved it and did a quick online search once getting home and eventually ordered the album.

“Wicked Sensation” (which is a better song than any Dokken has ever produced) is the biggest standout and Oni Logan’s voice really shines here as well. The rest of the album is solid pop-metal, but most of it is nothing spectacular, and I only occasionally give the album a spin just the hear the handful of songs I really enjoy.

The album is good enough though that if it had been released a few years earlier, it would’ve been a huge hit, but by 1990, unless you already had a strong following and were a platinum status act, you weren’t going to be given much of a chance playing this style of music.

Highlights: “Wicked Sensation”, “River of Love”, “Sweet Sister Mercy”, “She’s Evil But She’s Mine”, “No Bed of Roses”

www.georgelynch.com
www.myspace.com/lynchmobrocks

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