Lynch Pilson - Wicked Underground
Spitfire Records
Melodic Hard Rock
12 songs (55'03)
Release year: 2003
Lynch Pilson, Spitfire Records
Reviewed by Marty
Surprise of the month
Wicked Underground marks the long-awaited collaboration between 2 former Dokken members, Jeff Pilson (bass and vocals) and guitar wizard George Lynch (with Michael Fromein on drums). Both left the band a few years back and both have been very busy with their own respective solo careers. Although George's Lynch Mob managed to recreate some of the fire and magic of the classic Dokken from the 80's, there was still something missing. Hooking up with Jeff Pilson is just what the doctor ordered for all you fans of the classic 80's era of Dokken.

From the main riff to the opening track, you know you're in for a treat and these guys sure do deliver. The first three tracks, Breath And A Scream, Beast In The Box and When You Bleed all have the classic heavy Dokken-style riffs and choruses and Jeff Pilson is almost a dead ringer for Don Dokken. It must have come from all those years singing backup for Dokken but besides having not quite as strong a voice, Jeff proves himself as a very good vocalist. The structure of the songs is very similar to the Dokken days and for most of the tracks, I can picture Don Dokken singing them. The more "modern" riff styles combined with richly textured vocals drag up some ghosts of Dokken past all the while delivering a fresh and energetic new sound. It's great to hear George’s shredding leads again. While some of it is a throw back to the classic Dokken sound, many tracks feature some ethereal and almost psychedelic vocal and guitar interludes reminding you that it's not 1988 anymore!!! The riffs have a heavier and bottom heavy sound to them and George even experiments with some lower tunings to give a heavier and chunkier bottom end to his sound.

The catchiness of the songs here comes from both the great melodic vocals of Jeff Pilson and the instantly appealing choruses to the songs. All this mixed in with a wicked and heavy guitar sound with an awesome groove makes for one damn fine album. Vaccine, one of the heavier and faster tracks, features gang style choruses and a killer riff that would make a great U.D.O. song. After this track on the album, the rest of the album is a mix of quieter and reflective tracks with a couple of power ballads, a few more rockers and a couple of mainly acoustic tracks. The instrumental track Cromania is an absolute gem with wild doom style riffing, finger tapping and some ultra cool Steve Vai style "talking" wah leads and allows George to show off his amazing talents. He truly is one of the greatest guitarists to come out of the 80's metal scene. The album ends with Closer To None, another album highlight that starts quiet but builds into a heavy track for the chorus lines.

All in all, a very solid and highly recommended album for fans of Jeff and George and especially Dokken fans who may have been disillusioned by the band's last couple of releases. It just goes to show how important these two guys were to the Dokken sound both with their musicianship and songwriting talents. This album is everything I had hoped it would be and maybe even more. While Don Dokken still tours with himself, Mick Brown and other guitarists and bass players under the Dokken name, it pretty much is a classic rock greatest hits tour with no new material being played. While Don still struggles to "get it right" once again and come out with an album worthy of the Dokken name, Jeff Pilson and George Lynch have set the bar quite high with this one.....and I doubt that he will reach it.

Killing Songs :
Breath And A Scream, Beast In The Box, When You Bleed, Vaccine, Cromania and Closer To None
Marty quoted 84 / 100
Jeff quoted 74 / 100
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