WICKED SENSATION REIMAGINED (30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION)
Released on August 28, 2020 (Rat Pak Records)
Review by Ruben Mosqueda:
When George Lynch and Lynch Mob released The Brotherhood back in the fall of 2017, the band consisted of George of course, singer Oni Logan, bassist Sean McNabb and drummer Jimmy D’Anda. The band toured extensively behind The Brotherhood, which received critical acclaim. As the touring cycle ended for that album, Lynch Mob began to book shows where they were performing the 1990 debut album Wicked Sensation from top to bottom, which was a great way to celebrate the album. The likelihood of us getting a remastered release domestically, was slim to none as Rock Candy Records had issued a stellar remastered / deluxe edition in 2014.
I was surprised when Lynch and Rat Pak Records announced that Lynch Mob were in the studio to recut Wicked Sensation. My stomach sank when I read this, for a couple of reasons. The original is nine out of 10 times the best and George had taken a shot at recording new versions of classic Lynch Mob songs in the past with mixed results. The chemistry and the vibe of the originals just can’t be recreated. Speaking of ‘recreated’, Lynch Mob have ‘reimagined’ the Wicked Sensation album. Joining George Lynch and Oni Logan are bassist Robbie Crane (Ratt, Vince Neil, Black Star Riders) and drummer Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Billy Idol, Pride & Glory). I don’t need to tell you how capable the rhythm section is. If you can’t get ‘Wild’ Mick Brown out of retirement and there’s no Anthony Esposito, Tichy and Crane are more than capable understudies.
If you’re a Sleaze Roxx reader, there’s no doubt that you know Wicked Sensation inside out. You’ve lived and have grown to love the standouts, “Wicked Sensation,” “River of Love,” “All I Want,” “Sweet Sister Mercy,” “Bed Of Roses,” and “She’s So Evil.” George Lynch and Oni Logan started off with a clean slate when going into the studio to recut this ‘imagined’ rendition of Wicked Sensation. They have slowed down the pace of tracks like, “Wicked Sensation,” “River of Love,” “Sweet Sister Mercy,” “All I Want” and several others. These renditions could be hard to swallow for some of those fans expecting something that is reminiscent of the classic arrangements. There’s other songs that are relatively close to the versions that we have grown to know and love, those being “Hellchild,” “She’s So Evil,” Dance of The Dogs,” and “Rain.” If you can imagine these songs having more soul, funk and jam band type vibe to them, then you’d have Wicked Sensation Reimagined. The solos are fiery but in a different way, the original melodies are there, as are the hooks and the main riffs. I liken this album to when Jimi Hendrix stepped away from The Experience and delved into new creative territories like he did with The Band of Gypsies.
Not everyone will get what Lynch and Co are doing here, but there’s a lot of creativity and stretching of boundaries happening with this second take on the band’s beloved debut record.
Review by Olivier:
What do you do as a band when you have one of your best — if not your best — album about to reach a special milestone? Most groups will put out a special mention on social media to commemorate the event. The more ambitious ones will end up doing a whole tour based on the album in question often playing the record from start to finish to celebrate the said milestone. Very few bands end up re-recording their classic album. In fact, I can only think of two. The first one was Twisted Sister who re-recorded the songs off their breakthrough record Stay Hungry (1984) to come up with the heavier Still Hungry (2004). Twisted Sister didn’t really deviate that much from the songs aside from putting a more heavy metal spin on their classic tunes. The end result was a cool record that I admittedly rarely listen to. It’s not like I listen to Stay Hungry that much anymore either but if I’m going to listen to one of them, it will definitely be Stay Hungry over Still Hungry simply because I grew up on the songs off Stay Hungry and love to reminisce listening to the songs just the way I picture them, and not according to how the artist wants the songs to sound many years later.
The second band that I can think of that ended up re-recording a classic album happens to be Lynch Mob who recently decided to do the unthinkable and not only re-record the songs off their debut album Wicked Sensation (1990) but re-imagine them in a big way. Being a huge fan of Lynch Mob‘s debut record, I pre-ordered the Wicked Sensation Reimagined as soon as I found out about it even though I had a strong feeling that I wouldn’t like the reimagined versions of the tracks based on hearing the rather disappointing reimagined version of the title track. I think that I was just excited to have a new album from Lynch Mob to purchase knowing that I was already familiar with all the songs and hoping that Lynch Mob wouldn’t completely fuck up their reimagined versions of the songs. By the time that I heard the reimagined version of “Hellchild” which was barely recognizable from the original version, I knew that the odds were good that I wouldn’t like Wicked Sensation Reimagined.
For the purposes of this review, I first revisited Lynch Mob‘s sublime debut album Wicked Sensation and it was just as good as I thought that it was going to be after many years not listening to it. While I understand why guitarist George Lynch decided to re-record the songs off Wicked Sensation in a reimagined way, the end result is quite disappointing. Sadly and even though Lynch has released a lot of albums in the last few years — Lynch Mob, Sweet & Lynch, KXM, The Ultraphonics and Dirty Shirley come to mind — the reality is that the guitarist hasn’t released a great album since, well Lynch Mob‘s debut album all the way back to 1990, and a really solid album since Dokken‘s Dysfunctional (1995). Sure, Lynch has come up with a few really good songs along the way here and there, such as Dirty Shirley‘s “Here Comes The King” (featuring Animal Drive singer Dino Jelusick) but for the most part, he has come up with some uninspired material such as Dokken‘s grunge like attempt Shadowlife (1997) or even The End Machine‘s debut self-titled album last year.
Hearing Lynch Mob‘s reimagined versions of the classic tracks on Wicked Sensation confirms that Lynch has moved on from the plethora of amazing albums that he took part in with Dokken in the ’80s and later early on with Lynch Mob to adopt a more bluesy, less melodic, kind of dull and even a bit grunge like music in the last 28 years or so. An acquaintance of mine who has a degree in psychology once indicated that people end up reinventing themselves every 10 years or so, and that certainly is the case for George Lynch who is definitely not the same person 30 years later after Lynch Mob‘s debut record. Just the fact that Lynch thought that it would be a cool and fun idea to sometimes complete change the flow of the songs off Wicked Sensation speaks volumes. Gone are the great melodies and guitar riffs, and in are slower paced, soul and jazz filled tunes, with a lack of a real punchline to them. That’s just the way Lynch likes his music these days and he essentially must have convinced his “on again, off again” Lynch Mob partner / lead vocalist Oni Logan to participate in this lacklustre effort.
It would have been fun to have the original Lynch Mob line-up for the debut record consisting of Lynch, Logan, drummer “Wild” Mick Brown and bassist Anthony Esposito re-record the songs off Wicked Sensation but for whatever reason, the rhythm crew was changed to drummer Brian Tichy and bassist Robbie Crane. At least, Tichy and Crane have some connection to Lynch Mob with Crane having played on the group’s solid Sound Mountain Sessions EP (2012) while Tichy played on the band’s awful Rebel album.
The reality is that if I hadn’t heard Wicked Sensation before, I would likely think that the songs off Wicked Sensation Reimagined are very forgettable and a lot of times, just plain suck. However, due to my familiarity with the tracks off Wicked Sensation, I was able to appreciate the songs off the Reimagined version to some extent while listening with some interest to how Lynch and company decided to deviate from the classic tracks. I definitely can’t say that I like one reimagined track better than the original, and the odds are good that I will never listen to Wicked Sensation Reimagined again but at least, we get to hear where George Lynch‘s head is at music wise 30 years later. In addition, having a new album of some kind from Lynch Mob to commemorate the 30th year anniversary of the band’s fantastic debut album is better than nothing.
Unlike Twisted Sister who stayed true to the originals songs off Stay Hungry with Still Hungry, Lynch Mob have gone to great lengths to present something very different on Wicked Sensation Reimagined than what can be found on Wicked Sensation. While Wicked Sensation Reimagined is definitely a disappointing album overall and I really hope that Lynch Mob do not elect to play the songs off their debut album in any reimagined way in a live setting, I am still happy that the record was released as something is better than nothing.
01. Wicked Sensation (Reimagined)
02. River of Love (Reimagined)
03. Sweet Sister Mercy (Reimagined)
04. All I Want (Reimagined)
05. Hellchild (Reimagined)
06. She’s Evil but She’s Mine (Reimagined)
07. Dance of the Dogs (Reimagined)
08. Rain (Reimagined)
09. No Bed of Roses (Reimagined)
10. Through These Eyes (Reimagined)
11. For a Million Years (Reimagined)
12. Street Fightin’ Man (Reimagined)
Oni Logan – vocals
George Lynch – guitar
Brian Tichy – drums
Robert Crane – bass, additional background vocals
Chris Collier – additional background vocals
Produced by Brian Tichy and Lynch Mob
Additional production by Chris “The Wizard” Collier
Engineered by Dave Weingarten, Bob Daspit, Brian Tichy and Chris “The Wizard” Collier
Reviewed by Ruben Mosqueda and Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, September 2020
Lynch Mob‘s “Wicked Sensation (Reimagined)” single:
Lynch Mob‘s “Hellchild (Reimagined)” single: