Heavy metal guitar stalwart George Lynch returns with REvolution, a 13-track set featuring re-recorded versions of Dokken and Lynch Mob classics. Vocalist Rob Mason and bassist Anthony Esposito have returned to the Lynch Mob fold for this project; they are joined behind the drum kit by newcomer Michael "Fro" Frowein. Together, the combo does a mostly bang-up job with the material. Lynch's guitar lines are leaner and meaner throughout, emulating the newly buff physique of Mr. Scary himself. And while Mason's singing style is that of a journeyman metal vocalist, he wisely relies on power here, dispensing with the kind of upper-register histrionics favored by Don Dokken and Oni Logan that defined -- and subsequently maligned -- 1980s metal. REvolution lifts off with the Dokken classic "Tooth and Nail"; it's essentially the same song, only rippling with a new sense of purpose that's palpable throughout the record. It's immediately clear that while Lynch and his mates are having fun with this return to their roots, they're also reveling in the spit-shine they've given the material.
While an aging copy of Tooth and Nail or Too Fast for Love can still be a thrilling ride, hindsight makes the sins of these and other '80s hair classics more evident. The horn section that pops up on "Tangled in the Web" (from 1992's Lynch Mob) probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but it hasn't aged well. "Tangled in the Web" 2003 amps up Lynch's riffs and rumbles along on the strength of Fro's muscular drum fills. "She's Evil But She's Mine" is all grunged up, complete with Alice in Chains-style chorus vocals. Lynch again cuts his original performance to the quick, letting the chords linger. It's almost a maturation of his famous weedly-weedly solos and fills -- where before there were busy trips up and down the fretboard, there are now only well-timed pulloffs that quickly return to low-end mudslinging. For "Kiss of Death," the verses have been slowed to a sludgy half-time groove. Dynamic all-stops aid the chorus' explosion, which has been inserted largely intact from 1987's Back for the Attack. The nod to grunge shouldn't be construed as a sellout; indeed, Mason still sounds too much like a cross between David Coverdale and Jack Russell to ever be mistaken for a Seattle sound moaner. By tightening up the arrangements and stripping away the bombast, the Lynch Mob has essentially done to its own past what grunge did to 1980s metal in general. Retrofitted reminiscence is an easy way to make a buck. But when the wet work is done as well as the Lynch Mob have done with REvolution, one has to overlook the cashing in, and simply rock out.