"Heavy Hitters" (Deadline Music; 2020)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I was so excited to see this covers album come across my desk. First of all, I love cover songs. Always have. Second, George Lynch is one of my favorite guitarists. Finally, the thought of him re-joining his former Dokken bandmate, Jeff Pilson, also sounded cool.

But I gotta say that there was just something that didn't click for me as I listened to "Heavy Hitters." It wasn't Lynch's work, which is easily the highlight here, it's not the vocals which are strong and fitting, and it wasn't the fact that the promise of turning "pop music classics into powerful metal anthems" is actually lived up to. The second and third time I listened I realized my disappointment probably had less to do with the performances on this album than it did with the song selection. I mean, I like all of the original songs that "Heavy Hitters" covers but the translation to "hard rock" (metal doesn't even make an appearance here, really) doesn't seem to work. It almost seems as thought Lynch and Pilson were trying too hard to respect the original tunes and not make them more their own.

Not every track is a dud. The cover of Carole King's "I Feel the Earth" works pretty well, as does this version of Madonna's "Music." But the version of Prince's "Kiss," just doesn't have the right energy. (Of course, in all fairness, no one should ever try to cover that song again since Tom Jones recorded the definitive cover version a few years ago).

"Dud" may be too strong a word. It's not that "Heavy Hitters" is bad. It certainly is listenable. It's just that I hoped the album was, I don't know, a little more dynamic. Nevertheless, if you're a George Lynch fan, there are enough fiery leads and heavy riffs here to make "Heavy Hitters" worth your while.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2020 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.