Cleopatra Records, 2010
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/28/2011
Former Dokken guitarist George Lynch, the man responsible for "Mr. Scary" and "It's Not Love," plays classical music on this release. It's not too much of a stretch, as classical music has provided the foundation for a lot of the music we hear today in the world. A lot of people, including me, can't tell you if Mozart or Beethoven came first without looking it up on Wikipedia. And that's fine, to an extent. Don't do a lot of homework before you take this release in. Knowledge can dampen the effect of this album.
I did notice some strange things, though. First, the songs are so damn short. There are 13 tracks and only one breaks the five-minute range. The rest are three minutes and change. By the numbers, it looks like Lynch just wanted to give us a taste of his playing, but not too much. Second, there is a keyboard too high in the mix—at some points, it overshadows Lynch's guitar. Third, and this is minor, but these songs seem to just fade out at the end. It would have been nice to hear a couple of definitive "stops" to the material instead of just fading.
Now for the good parts. Lynch sounds excellent. Compared to the original pieces, these are clearly Lynch's interpretations, with guitar solos and a drummer added. Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, 1st Movement" sounds excellent in this new interpretation. Mendelssohn's "Venetian Boat Song (From Songs Without Words)" sounds like a modern piece from someone like Tony MacAlpine or Vinnie Moore. Based upon the melody, Lynch takes the piece in a new direction. I especially liked "Wizards In Winter.”
It's odd, as a drummer, to have a favorite guitarist. I have no idea how George Lynch created all those riffs from the Dokken. What I have responded to is the emotion and technique. His solos and riffs are the way the metal genre should incorporate the guitar.
That said, when I came across Orchestral Mayhem I wasn't sure what to think. I'm not a classical music kind of guy, though I did well in my "Introduction To Music" college class where we were exposed to the genre. I'm not an idiot that will say "it all sounds the same." Bill and Patricia Medley, my professors for that class, would be proud that I recognized Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, 1st Movement." From watching too many movies and cartoons, Rossini's "William Tell Overture" is familiar to me as well. Even the University of Iowa pep band plays it as the cheerleaders do backflips down the basketball court.