The End Machine
The End Machine (Frontiers)
First of all, hats off to Frontiers. The label continues to dig up the best in hard rock and heavy metal, kicking off some careers while reinvigorating others. Either way, an email in the inbox from Frontiers is always worth extra attention.
The End Machine are a new band but the musicians in it are old hands. Classic-era Dokken man George Lynch, Mick Brown and Jeff Pilson (also of Foreigner) have joined forces with current Warrant singer Robert Mason. So is this just Dokken without Dokken?
“Musically, of course there's bound to be moments that will be reminiscent of Dokken. That's only logical,” Pilson says on a press release accompanying the album. “But my guess is there will be less of that than people would expect. Some people who've heard it say they think it's closer to Lynch Mob than Dokken, but really it is pretty much its own thing. We allowed ourselves to get a little deeper than either of those projects really have, while still staying extremely melodic and not being afraid of good old-fashioned guitar rock. Maybe Lynch Mob, a bit of Dokken, but then some ’70s guitar rock added in. George [Lynch] is playing fantastic on this … very inspired. Everyone is, really, but George covers some new territory here and it's very cool. Plus, the songs as compositions took on their own life, especially adding Robert [Mason] to the writing. That's what I'm most proud of, is the way this stands on its own. It doesn't step on our legacy together one bit, but it has its own personality and I think that's important.”
And that about sums it up. There are certainly moments here that recall both Dokken's and Lynch Mob’s more anthemic moments, starting off with opening track “Leap of Faith.” Let’s not pull punches here — Don Dokken’s voice hasn’t been at its best for some years now. Mason, on the other hand, is still able to belt out those hard-to-reach notes.
“This is decidedly not me ‘stapled’ onto a Dokken record,” Mason says in that same press release. “I wouldn't have been involved if that was the intent. Fans will hear bits of our styles in this collection of songs, and while reminiscent signatures are undeniable, The End Machine was purposely built to stand apart and on its own merit.”
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Of course, the important thing is the songs, and there are some gems here. Befitting the talents of the men involved, the melodies are memorable yet powerful, and while there is undeniably an ’80s vibe, the music doesn’t sound at all stale. “No Game” is a sleazy slow-burner, while “Ride It” is an absolute banger.
Lynch has been going through a creative renaissance lately, and he’s on stellar form here. But this is far from the George Lynch show. It’s not some half-assed supergroup, either. This is a solid album from a new project and it deserves to be heard.
The End Machine's self-titled debut album is out March 22 via Frontiers.