The End Machine start at the beginning

When members of known bands join together outside of their familiar home, you either get ‘supergroup’ or a portmanteau of their names as the first instinct of the press tends toward doubt or even ridicule. It is under that cloud that Wokken or Darrant could have been born as the classic-era Dokken members George Lynch, Jeff Pilson, and Mick Brown join forces with Warrant singer Robert Mason…known strictly speaking, or typing, as The End: Machine (and initially they were going to be called Super Stroke) but more likely simply The End Machine. Their previous bands have, inevitably, informed their music but they set out to do something different and I am sure that they have achieved it; so put away the poison pens and sit back and listen to some 80s flavoured hard rock written with flair and performed with skill.

Starting with the fade in guitar of Leap Of Faith, we get the anthem in waiting whoas at the beginning before the verse cuts in with Mason unmistakably Mason but, backed by the riff of Lynch we get a decent, well-structured heavy rock song. If you must have a comparison, this could be Barden era MSG. The guitar playng toward the fade is fascinating. Hold Me Down is a faster weighty rock song that nods towards Lynch Mob but still manages to remain new and the intro is a clever play around the main riff. It strays into an over familiar pattern but is suddenly lifted by a genius use of slide in the too short solo. Ain’t No Game is in the Angus frame as the intro chugs along in hefty blues and develops, via the melody, into more modern day Whitesnake but with more feel and texture to the guitar sound and solo. Bulletproof is my current favourite with its neat, versatile guitar phrases changing and lighting up the song, wrapped around a blues based riff that embodies heavy rock…and, after a simple acoustic interlude, the bridge takes us into another inventive guitar solo; played with pace, variation and style. Ride It is next and this one goes for rapid-fire riffing and backing while the vocal, despite the driving clichés, takes many different routes to great effect. The solo matches the frantic pace and very nearly goes into widdle mode but it’s saved by the harmony harmonics, the sudden Pinball Wizard acoustic, the bass is audible too (at last) and it suddenly becomes a damn good song. Burn The Truth builds nice and slowly with a great tone acoustic overlaid with electric runs before the restrained vocals come in. It leads to a harmony vocal chorus of anthemic proportions, and Pilson’s bass is brilliant behind the quieter verses. The solo makes up the dénouement and is worth waiting for too. Hard Road changes the flavour again and this time injects a chunk of funk into the mix as, behind the great riff, the bass and drums are funky as funk and do a rock-solid job. The solo manages to fit just about every trick in the book into it without sounding manufactured and instead sounds inspired. Alive Today is the least immediate with a synth like start and descending guitar before the riff cuts in…there’s nothing inherently wrong with it, just a feeling that it’s a bit empty compared to the rest….maybe just me, but the ‘modern’ edge it has is a bit of dampener.  Line Of Division reverts to a more classic rock pattern and, with its potential for call and response with a crowd, it could have come straight from the arena rock the States was rife with. It is still great fun though especially the funky central section of guitar strumming…that’s how you do it Mr Evans! Sleeping Voices is next and, at first, the thought will be; here’s the ballad! Give it time however and you will be rewarded by a song that builds and builds via the carefully constructed and paced guitar….both acoustic and electric join to create a lovely atmosphere to back the ethos of the lyrics. Then it hits a heavy rock vein with a classic Lynch riff of quality. This is the format that served Priest so well on songs like Beyond The Realms of Death in as much that it has the quiet, the loud and the screaming from vocals and guitar that meld into an epic piece of true rock. The final track, Life Is Love Is Music, sums it all up better than I can in those five words and the sentiment is echoed by this quality track.

This is a great album of quality heavy rock…way better than some ‘names’ are releasing at the moment. So if you like guitar driven, 80s flavoured and crafted qualities in your rock, give this a listen and I’m sure you will agree.

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Tracklisting:

  1. Leap Of Faith
  2. Hold Me Down
  3. No Game
  4. Bulletproof
  5. Ride It
  6. Burn the Truth
  7. Hard Road
  8. Alive Today
  9. Line of Division
  10. Sleeping Voices
  11. Life Is Love Is Music

Musicians:

George Lynch: guitar

Jeff Pilson: bass

Mick Brown: drums

Robert Mason: vocals

The End Machine start at the beginning

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