You might say that T & N is the closest thing to a full blown Dokken reunion that the fans are going to get. Guitarist George Lynch was in the studio laying down tracks for his new Lynch Mob album, but lead singer Oni Logan didn’t think the songs were true Lynch Mob songs and the album was shelved. Drummer Brian Tichy then suggested to George that he should get Mick Brown and Jeff Pilson together to form a new band. Pilson has already been writing new Lynch Mob material with Lynch, so things just fell into place.
They decided to dust off some old Dokken classics and re-record them. The chemistry between “The Big Three from Dokken” immediately went into overdrive when the sessions started. It was so strong that they wrote new material to be included in the new project. Thus, the formation of T & N. The name did start out as Tooth and Nail, but there was a legal dispute with Tooth and Nail Records, so they decided to shorten it. Now, with all the bullshit out of the way…here we are as T & N are about to unleash something pretty special on the world.
The new album, Slave to the Empire, consists of seven new songs and five re-recorded Dokken classics with guest vocalists. I know everyone wants to know about the revisiting of the old Dokken songs, but I want to talk about the new material first. Lead vocal duties on the new songs are handled by Jeff Pilson and he does a great job. The album opens with the title track and you immediately know that these guys mean business. It’s an aggressive, rocker challenging the listener to rise up and be a free thinker.
“Sweet Unknown” has a nasty bass groove at the beginning that weaves its way throughout the entire song; a great track from beginning to end. “When Eagles Die” has a beautiful acoustic intro, but it doesn’t take long before the amps get plugged in and Lynch starts cranking away. The acoustic element shows up throughout the song and adds a fantastic layer of depth. “Mind Control” is definitely a stand out track on the album. Its catchy and infectious groove immediately hooks you in. Lynch has some mighty tasty guitar riffs in it as well as a killer solo.
Now, let’s touch on the re-recorded stuff. Sometimes when a band re-records some of it’s old classics, they really come up short and the newer versions seem to pale in comparison, but this time is an exception. T & N stays pretty true to the originals, but each guest vocalist adds their own flare with their individual style. Lynch Mob alumni Robert Mason, currently fronting Warrant, lends his vocals to “It’s Not Love.” Doug Pinnick of Kings X takes on “Tooth and Nail” while Tim “Ripper” Owens of Judas Priest fame tackles “Kiss of Death.” The track that immediately created a buzz on the net after being announced was the classic power ballad “Alone Again” featuring the one and only Sebastian Bach on lead vocals. All I will say is that you will not be disappointed. You can feast your own ears upon four of the songs of badassery here…
Overall, Slave to the Empire is just an outstanding album. Seven new kickass tunes and fiver killer re-recordings that rock just as hard if not harder than the originals. If this wets your appetite for more T & N, then don’t fret. It seems that a second album of new material and more re-recorded Dokken classics is already in the works. I know that I am not the only one who is looking forward to seeing and hearing this band out on the road performing these songs!
Johnny Price, Journalist – RockRevolt™Magazine
Photographs provided by RatPak Records & PR