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Melodic Round-up: September 2015

Dave Ling on new releases from Lynch Mob, Newman, Stala & So, Skintrade and Royal Hunt

Lynch Mob: Rebel

With three spells as a member of Dokken, though principally via a platinum-encrusted stint lasting from1980–89, George Lynch has attained immortality in the world of melodic hard rock. A still-toxic relationship with vocalist Don Dokken scuppers a return to that band, but the guitarist has made some excellent music with his own fortuitously named group, most of it in the company of vocalist Oni Logan. Nobody fits Lynch Mob like co-founder Logan, who returned after almost two decades away for 2009’s Smoke And Mirrors album.

Notwithstanding the odds ‘n’ sods collection Sun Red Sun, Rebel is that album’s successor. It’s less by-numbers than the MTV hair metal of the original Dokken. Testify, Sanctuary and Dirty Money are far bluesier and blessed with a chunkier style of melody, all infused with Lynch’s high impact fretboard phraseology, while Logan’s wonderful voice is the glue that holds it together. Disciples of Lynch’s playing won’t be disappointed; an extended solo on War reminds us why most of today’s so-called guitar heroes aren’t even fit to tech for him. (810)

Newman: The Elegance Machine

Eleven albums in and Britain’s Steve Newman delivers once again. The Elegance Machine offers a further refinement of a most agreeable formula – hook-laden choruses, punchy guitars and keys, plus strong, authoritative vocals and thoughtful lyrics. We’re hardly talking rocket science here, but Newman make it look so easy. (810)

Stala & So: Stala & So

This is album number three from a Finnish band based around lead vocalist Sampsa Stala, an ex-Lordi drummer. Just like the audio equivalent of a pink feather boa on a hen night, Stala & So are big, colourful, trashy and utterly unapologetic, and their hedonism-fuelled anthems such as You Don’t Mind (Devil In Disguise) will leave the listener grinning from ear to ear. (710)

Skintrade: Scarred For Life

Remembered fondly for his days with Jagged Edge and, more recently, Red White & Blues and Impera, vocalist Matti Alfonzetti still packs a mighty, blues-drenched set of pipes. Skintrade dare to beef up the Katy Perry-popularised Wide Awake, but the exquisite Find A Way returns the Swedes to familiar melodic territory. (710)

Royal Hunt: XIII – Devil’s Dozen

Coming from Denmark, Royal Hunt’s grab-bag of melodic rock, metal and prog and symphonic sounds is tough to beat, as you’d expect with an almost-quarter-century of recording experience. Back since 2011, fan favourite vocalist DC Cooper remains in place here, his presence, on tracks such as Heart As A Platter, cementing a package that’s classy in just about every regard. (810)

Classic Rock 214: New Albums