When I first heard that Lynch Mob was reuniting with Oni Logan to record a new CD, there was extreme excitement in the air. I always thought that Wicked Sensation (Lynch Mob’s debut disc) was underrated and under appreciated. Oni Logan has an amazing voice and coupled with George Lynch’s guitar abilities, Wicked Sensation was everything that solo Don Dokken was not.
After their debut album launched, Logan left the band or was fired, depending on which report you go by. It was assumed that their time together was done. Well now, some 19 years later, they have reunited to record the proper follow up to Wicked Sensation. Their offering is titled Smoke and Mirrors, and quite frankly, it was so worth the wait.
A throwback to the days of great rock and roll, the sound of the 80s with a new millennium twist, Smoke and Mirrors is rock done right. This is the record that all of their peers wished they recorded. Lynch has never sounded better, and Logan’s vocals are still amazing, even after all these years. This is hard rock the way you want it, a touch of blues, a pinch of sleaze, and a lot of fun. Rounding out the band with Lynch and Logan are bassist Marco Mendozza and drummer Scott Coogan (from Brides of Destruction). Together, these four men made quite a record.
Smoke and Mirrors opens with three of the hardest rocking tracks I’ve heard in a long time. They aren’t just great Lynch Mob songs, they’re great rock songs. The disc launches with the hard hitting “21st Century Man”, a kick in the face opening track that blows the mind. Lynch’s guitar work has an immediate impact and 30 seconds into the song when Logan’s vocals kick in, there is a magical feeling oozing from the disc. My only complaint on this song is the band’s decision to use the echo microphone effect currently made popular by Nickelback. That is an overused effect and it did not add any depth to the song, so it was not really necessary. Fortunately, this is the only song they try it on.
The title track follows and delivers a punch that’s just as hard as the opener. A hard rocker with a bluesy backbone, ‘Smoke & Mirrors” is a song that has feet moving and inspires sing-alongs after just two or three listens. Lynch launches the song with a little acoustic guitar riff that bleeds into an Oni Logan moan, and gets the song started. The music and vocals take over from there, producing an excellent track.
“Lucky Man” comes next and delivers the knockout blow. It’s not quite power ballad, not quite hard rocker, just a perfect hybrid of the two. “Lucky Man” shows Logan’s vocal range and proves that he still has what it takes to be a great lead singer. These three songs are reason enough to lay out the cash for this CD, but Lynch Mob is far from finished after ‘Lucky Man”.
Notable tracks include “Smoke and Mirrors”, “Lucky Man”, ‘The Phacist”, and “21st Century Man”. The solo on “Time Keepers’ is some of Lynch’s best work and shows that he is still a master of the guitar, worthy of being mentioned in the same league as Eddie Van Halen, Ace Frehley, and Yngwie Malmsteem. “Let the Music Be Your Master’ may not deliver as quickly as the opening tracks, but after three or four spins, it can be said that this song is as solid as the rest of the disc. The bridge changes and Lynch’s solo make this a worthy contender for top song on the disc. However, there is no clear cut favorite. That’s how good this CD is.
The hard hitting drum work of Coogan adds depth to these solid tracks. Coogan keeps perfect time throughout the album and shows off some of his own talent, even though it may appear that he and Mendozza get buried under the shadow of Lynch’s amazing guitar and Logan’s solid vocal power. That’s simply not true. The rhythm section in this band is the anchor and it’s a huge part of what makes Smoke and Mirrors such an outstanding album.
With a mixture of blues, hard rock, and a smattering of metal, Smoke and Mirrors is a CD sure to get multiple listens on your CD player, IPod, car stereo, house stereo, and wherever else you like to jam the tunes. Coming off the very solid Souls of We record, Lynch certainly has delivered a lot of great music in the past 12 months. Smoke and Mirrors is quite simply a must own disc for any hard rock/metal fan. With a ballsy bluesy, sleaze sound, powerful and outstanding guitar work by Lynch, and riffs that get stuck in your head for days, it’s a no brainer. Smoke and Mirrors is an exceptional CD.
Rating: Out of 10
- 21st Century Man
- Smoke and Mirrors
- Lucky Man
- My Kind of Healer
- Time Keepers
- Revolution Heroes
- Let The Music Be Your Master
- The Phacist
- Where Do You Sleep At Night
- Madly Backwards
- We Will Remains
- Before I Close My Eyes
- Mansions In The Sky (Bonus Track)
Lynch Mob is:
George Lynch – Lead Guitar
Oni Logan – Vocals
Marco Mendozza – Bass Guitar
Scott Coogan – Drums
Reviewed by Ryo Vie.