George Lynch: Shadow Train (Rat Pak Records)
Let’s make this statement right at the start. George Lynch is one hell of a guitarist. One of the main hard rock guitarists in the 1980s with Dokken and his own band, Lynch Mob, he is a prolific recording artist with a huge back catalogue. Shadow Train is a whopping 18 track double CD and features the vocal talents of Gregg Analla, Gabe Rosales on bass, Donnie Dickman on keyboards and drummer Jimmy D’Anda. It’s a real eclectic mix, with some all-out rockers, opener Vulture being a great example, and a variety of styles reminiscent of a range of hard rock; bits of the Deftones, Alice In Chains and Audioslave immediately apparent. Lynch’s guitar work has always been excellent, the man was voted in the top 50 all-time guitarists by Guitar World not so long ago and he hasn't eased up with some blistering soloing as well as more delicate and intricate work.
Shadow Train contains a number of themes. These include the anti-religion rage during the brooding Ghost, which contains Analla rapping away and a number of pro- Native American Indian tracks including White Clay and Sioux Wake Up, which segue with Lynch’s forthcoming Shadow Nation documentary about the tribulations they face in the USA today. Fight No More demonstrates a more subtle edge to Lynch’s song writing with acoustic guitar work and more anti-authority lyrics. Shadow Train is littered with decent songs; the only problem I have is the absolute monster length of the album. It just becomes a little wearing and by the time album closer World On Fire kicks out the jams for a final time I was ready for a lie down. If you like a massive slab of generic hard rock, Shadow Train is definitely worth a listen. 7/10
Nuclear Assault: Pounder EP (Dry Heave Records)
A fresh release from 1980s thrash outfit Nuclear Assault described bluntly as “four killer old-school thrash songs”, this EP contains all the groove and hooks of the 1980s thrash scene but is badly let down by the dreadful production. Analog Man is possibly the pick of the tunes, furious drumming, shredding guitar work, Anthrax style hook (unsurprising even after all these years with Dan Lilker remaining a main man) and John Connelly’s trademark vocal delivery. This isn’t going to match the iconic early works on Survive and Handle With Care but will add to the mix in the pit and shows that there is life left in the old dog yet. 6/10
Orchid: Sign Of The Witch EP (Nuclear Blast)
Whilst Nuclear Assault is firmly embedded in the 1980s, San Francisco doom merchants Orchid are truly cemented in 1970. Sign Of The Witch is a four track EP which once again highlights that whilst Tony Iommi wrote all of metal’s great riffs, he clearly lent them out to Orchid whose monster riffage sits comfortably in the Black Sabbath/Paranoid album era. John The Tiger is probably the pick of the tracks in the Fairies Wear Boots style. Theo Mindell’s vocals are the perfect foil for the crashing rhythm of Keith Nickel and Carter Kennedy’s drumming whilst Mark Thomas Baker’s fretwork effortlessly transports you to the Black Country of 45 years ago. Amazingly fresh and vital despite the clear step back in time, Sign Of The Witch is a tasty slab which any Sabbath fan will love. 8/10