Lynch Mob

Smoke and Mirrors

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Ever since the 1980s, George Lynch has been considered one of heavy metal's top shredder guitarists. But unlike many other flashy six-stringers from the era, Lynch has often put the importance of songwriting over merely just shredding the night away -- all the way back to his Dokken days -- and he continues to focus on the "the song" over "the solo" on the 2010 release from the Lynch Mob, Smoke and Mirrors. The big story here for longtime Lynch admirers is that Smoke and Mirrors is the first Lynch Mob release to feature singer Oni Logan since their most successful outing, 1990's debut, Wicked Sensation. And as expected, quite a few of the tunes are certainly of the headbanging variety -- tops being such noggin-pummelers as "Time Keepers." But Lynch and company avoid the one-dimensional trap by breaking things up with bluesy rockers ("Smoke & Mirrors," "My Kind of Healer"), a tune that starts off like an Alice in Chains-esque grinder (the album-opening "21st Century Man"), and even a few tunes that would have sounded oh-so-sweet blasting from a Camaro in a local heavy metal parking lot circa 1986 ("The Fascist," "We Will Remain"). And while many of Lynch's fans will agree that Don Dokken is his best-suited vocalist, Logan certainly makes a case for himself here, with a strong vocal performance throughout, being able to handle whatever Lynch throws at him. If you're looking for an album chock-full of George Lynch's six-string technique, you'll have to look elsewhere (namely, his solo releases). But for fans of Lynch's work with Dokken and the Lynch Mob's early material, Smoke and Mirrors is a welcome addition to the guitarist's ever-growing discography.

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