July 30, 2018 Ultraphonix – Original Human Music (Album Review)
When it comes to dynamic duos, in the world of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, the thought of “Mr. Scary” himself, Guitarist George Lynch, and the soulfully electric frontman of Living Colour, Vocalist Corey Glover, teaming up on a new music project would seemingly have fans of these classic artists foaming at the mouth. Well Hard Rock fans, you are not dreaming. The reality is these two renowned trailblazers of Rock have in fact come together to form a solid band of their own labeled Ultraphonix.
Breaking ground, Lynch and Glover, alongside two more exceedingly talented artists, Bassist Pancho Tomaselli (War, Philm), and Drummer Chris Moore (Project NfidelikAh), come together as Ultraphonix to announce the debut album, Original Human Music, is set for a release date of Friday, August 3, 2018, via earMusic.
A child of the Big Apple, Corey Glover was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1964. Twenty-one years later, in 1985, Glover would meet guitar extraordinaire Vernon Reid and the pair united to form the first Funk/Metal band, Living Colour. A surefire hit, Living Colour’s debut album, 1988’s Vivid, skyrocketed to platinum glory primarily due to the smash single “Cult of Personality.” The song took off and won the band a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1989. Later that year, Living Colour also won Best New Artist at the MTV Video Music Awards. On tour, Glover was performing on the same stage with two of the greatest frontmen, as Living Colour opened for British Rock gods The Rolling Stone alongside a band who, at the time, was fiercely up-and-coming, some may have heard of these guys, Guns ‘N’ Roses.
Living Colour released two more albums, 1990’s Time’s Up and 1993’s Stain, before sadly disbanding in 1995. In 1998, Glover started a solo career and later, in 2006, Glover pursued his passion for acting, playing the role of Judas touring with Jesus Christ Superstar. Come the year 2000, Living Colour reunited, joined by Bassist Doug Wimbish and Drummer Will Calhoun, reigniting a fan base who had not forgotten Living Colour. Together ever since, Living Colour continue to showcase their unique sound on tour and by way of new music including their latest album, 2017’s Shade. A classic, “Cult of Personality” is all over Rock radio and has even been used as an entrance theme song by former pro-wrestler CM Punk. Not credited enough, Glover is known for his immensely soulful and passionate vocal abilities which immediately grab the attention of any listener. To this day, Glover’s pipes still hold up against the best vocalists in music.
George Lynch was born in Spokane, Washington on September 28, 1954 and was raised in the Glam Rock haven of California. Active in music since the late 1970’s, Lynch honed his remarkable craft playing in bands on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. Becoming one of the best, Lynch has credited guitar pioneers such as Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads as having a huge influence on his playing. Finding home, Lynch joined Dokken in 1980 with Vocalist Don Dokken, Bassist Jeff Pilson, and Drummer Mick Brown. Ten million albums sold, as part of Dokken, Lynch went on to become one of the most acclaimed axe-men of the 1980s as he shredded on hot hits like “Tooth and Nail” and “Breaking the Chains.”
Sadly, Dokken broke up in March of 1989. This gave Lynch the chance to work as a solo artist releasing a number of albums in addition to the “Wicked Sensation” Lynch formed in 1990 known as Lynch Mob. Lynch Mob saw a new breed of Rock from George Lynch, featuring a groovier sound that can be heard to this day on the band’s 2017 release The Brotherhood. Keeping himself busy, in 2015, Lynch debuted another project, this time with Stryper Vocalist Michael Sweet. Going by Sweet & Lynch, this incredible force have released two albums so far, 2015’s Only to Rise and 2017’s Unified to critical acclaim.
Out of nowhere, in fall 2016, Rock fans saw hell freeze over when Don Dokken successfully reunited the original line-up of Dokken, including Lynch, for a few one-off gigs in Japan and one in the U.S. Gifting fans a tangible memory, Dokken released these performances via the live album Return to the East Live (2016), released April 20, 2018. Whether or not Lynch will be asked to return to Dokken in the future remains to be seen. For now, Lynch and Glover are ready to introduce the world to Ultraphonix.
Once again forging a sound unlike his other projects, Lynch commented on what fans can expect from the music of Ultraphonix, stating: “It’s a hybrid cross between Heavy Metal, Jazz, and Progressive. At his core, Corey is a bluesy, Gospel R&B singer. At my core, I’m a blues guitarist. I have residual influences from deep R&B. That’s where we identify.” Co-produced by Bob Daspit (Sammy Hagar), Original Human Music uncovers Ultraphonix as a band who believes in spreading a socially conscious message through the eyes of Rock music. A perfect analysis, the songs of Original Human Music is an album of self-observation, investigating the truth to questions we all want answered.
Getting down to it, Ultraphonix drops the needle sparking Original Human Music via the cleansing opener “Baptism.” Conveying a dark muddy eloquence, this track implores you to take a good look in the mirror at who you have become (“Did you lose yourself again?“). After seeing “Another Day,” the tense debut single, “Walk Run Crawl,” exposes the backwards position of society before the frustrated opposition of “Counter Culture,” and a pleading, undeniable pain of “Heart Full of Rain.” Unconfined, “Free” hunts for a way out and says that if done right, love can be killer. Relative to the previous cut, “Wasteland” is a cast away lost in illusion, soundtracked by a slow heavy nature, and a talking guitar melody by Lynch becoming angrier by the second.
Pushing a progressive edge, Original Human Music features tracks embodying the feel of a live R&B/Jazz band as found on “Take A Stand,” giving the most jamming melodies from Lynch and Tomaselli. On the same level, “Soul Control” is musically eclectic and touches the most Soul-driven high notes from Glover so far. Moving Along, “Ain’t Too Late” asks the listener to make room for love and feel self-assured via “What You Say.” The album closer, “Power Trip” sees Glover give his most engaging performance as the vocalist pours into an emotional breakdown while begging for salvation.
Taking it all in, Original Human Music is a comprehensive recipe blending a polished mix of Hard Rock, R&B, Soul, Jazz, and Progressive tones. Overall, Original Human Music is not only about the music itself, but a social message which, at heart, tells us what we all need to hear. Glover’s delivery is perfect for this type of message as well. Together as one, Lynch and Glover have formed a finely tuned band with Moore and Tomaselli, giving fans new music that is both original and human. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Original Human Music 3.5 out of 5 stars.