The End Machine / The Quantum Phase Is Just Remarkable

This is genius. If The Quantum Phase, the new album from The End Machine, slips under the radar, it will be the biggest scandal since the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame lost Lemmy’s jacket in 2012. Put simply, the addition of Girish Pradhan has totally invigorated George Lynch, Jeff Pilson and Steve Brown, and as a new team, they have produced something really special.

The End Machine – The Quantum Phase (Frontiers Music Srl)

Release Date: 8 March 2024

Words: Steve Ritchie

Jeff Pilson is excited, too. He looks well, having recovered from “pretty intense back surgery,” and is wonderfully animated when discussing the new album.  

The End Machine album cover.
The End Machine – The Quantum Phase, out 8 March 2024

Silent Winter was a fantastic choice as a first single. As an introduction to the new lineup, it really showcases the dramatic effect new singer Girish Pradhan has brought to the team. Did Jeff realise early on in the recording sessions his addition was gonna be special?

“The first time Girish sent back an idea for a song, I realised how special,” Jeff told MetalTalk Editor Steve Ritchie. “I knew his voice was great. We listened to several Girish And The Chronicles songs. I knew his writing was great. But you never know what the combination is gonna be like and what the chemistry is gonna be like with the band. But as soon as he sent back the first idea, it was like, ok, this is a winner.

“He gets it. We get it and it just inspired us to keep writing greater songs. The chemistry of the songwriting process was fantastic, and that’s important. The songwriting chemistry is the all-important element.”

Girish has a wonderful way of layering his vocals. Jeff is a singer, too. “I left a lot of his in,” Jeff said, “because what he did was great. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

I asked if Jeff had a mentoring role, as the more experienced guy, but he says that was not the case. “Girish is really great on his own as is,” he says. “George and I would comment on the stuff that he would send. I worked with him on certain things.”

“Most of the stuff he did was really great just as is. It needed very little work. He’s just a fantastic writer and singer. It wasn’t like I’m the experienced guy, and he’s the novice. It wasn’t like that at all.”

You can see George swinging his Firebird in The End Machine Silent Winter video. I love the subtle changes in style he brings to his guitar on Silent Winter. That solo is awesome. George is really on fire on this entire album.

“He really, really is,” Jeff says. “He’s better than ever in my mind. He is playing so deeply from the heart and so powerfully. We had a lot of really magical moments on this record that I’m really glad we captured, and I just think the chemistry is incredible. What more can I say?”

The chemistry looks good in the video. Does Jeff still enjoy going out into the desert and making the videos? 

“Sure,” he smiles. “It was a lot of fun. I was in a lot of pain, to be honest, because a week later, I ended up having pretty intense back surgery. But, barring that, yes, it was a great experience. A lot of fun and a lot of laughs. Whenever George and I get together, there are a lot of laughs. Then throw Steve Brown in there for even more laughs. And Girish, he stands up on his own.”

Jeff even got his acting part when he was playing dead in the hut. “Academy award-winning stuff,” Jeff laughs.

Jeff Pilson With Foreigner
Jeff Pilson With Foreigner. Photo: Jody Wilk/MetalTalk

On Silent Winter, Jeff has his thundering, rumbling bass before the guitar solo. He has played with George over the years as a bass player. How great is it to play with George?

“I love it,” Jeff says. “It’s home for me. The music that we come up with to put bass to is very natural. It’s kind of cool, too, because sometimes George will push me to try something more exciting. He’s pushed me into some great ideas. I love doing it. I really look forward to playing bass when we write these songs. I’m grateful that I make a living doing things that I love. It’s pretty cool. “

The album opens with Black Hole Extinction. There is a 40-second eerie opening that builds the tension and then Girish comes in with that scream and bang The End Machine are into it. 

This is a truly great song. There is a fabulous solo, and Jeff has his bass moment towards the end. This is a really good introduction to the album. 

“Yeah,” Jeff enthusiastically agrees. “That’s my favourite song on the record. It was one that when we came up with the music, I thought it was going to be further down in the record, like a deep, dark, obscure, heavy track. Then Girish came up with that chorus, which I just think is incredibly fantastic, and turned it into a song that had to be either early or the opener. 

“We were thinking of Silent Winter as the album opener because Silent Winter, on the record, has an instrumental opening. That was geared to be the album opener. But once we had Black Hole Extinction finished, we thought this was the way to start the record. Something a little bit new, but also a strong, catchy chorus that I think is just great. I’m really excited about that track.”

It is perfect in the first spot. With lyrics like “This is the end, my friend,” it rolls into the opening, extended one minute 20 seconds of Silent Winter, then bash. This is not a concept album, but those bleak themes run all the way across the album.

“It kind of turned into a concept, and unintentionally, there is a theme behind the record,” Jeff says. 

The theme was a band thing. “Girish wrote most of the lyrics, but we did talk about it, and we did kind of conceptualise what some of the songs would be about. I would say the lyrics primarily came from him. We are called The End Machine. We have to be bleak and dark.”

The way the first two tracks blend together is enticing. The third song, Killer Of The Night, is fantastic and fills you with the desire to see the band live, an idea that Jeff has not discounted

Hell Or High Water is immense. The way the guitars are mixed and the screams in both ears are inspiring. It has a very cool fuzzy guitar sound to it. That sounds like one Jeff personally really enjoyed playing. It’s got a great bass tempo. “It was a lot of fun putting the bass track on that for sure,” Jeff says. “I think it just turned out to be a really fun, cool song.”

On Stand Up, Girish sings, “What’s going on with the world today?” This is another shining example of great riffs and great vocal harmonies. Burning Man is slower. This song is a classic and would have made an interesting single. Serafino [Perugino], from Frontiers, happens to love that song a lot too,” Jeff says. 

On Time, Girish sings, “So long since I saw the face of an angel,” and then the next line is something a bit miserable. The pattern repeats. Again this is a classic we are all screwed song. It is a really cool song with a wonderful swampy bass. I love that vocal melody. Jeff’s bass over the solo is really good. This song had me grooving, even though it’s a dystopian theme.

“That’s one of our favourites, too,” Jeff says. “I love that song. I love how that came out and the big, dramatic, long ending. George’s playing is on fire. What a catchy chorus. That was Girish. I have to credit him for that.”

When you think of The End Machine writing and recording a song like Time, I imagine them getting two-thirds of the way through it and then throwing in the extended fade-out. In terms of song lengths across the album, we are looking at around five minutes. 

If a song needs to be five minutes, then that’s how long the song is. You imagine they must have had great support for Frontiers in that aspect. “We’re not gonna get on AM radio,” Jeff says. “It’s about the music and the songs. Frontiers have been incredibly supportive. I know they’re really excited about this record, as are we. I feel like, musically, we could do anything we set out to do. And that’s a great feeling.”

The album finishes up with kind of a pairing. You have Stranger In The Mirror followed by Into The Blazing Sun. It is a really strong ending. Listening to the lyrics, I was trying to work out if that’s a positive end message or whether it’s just like, no, you’re all fucked.

“We’re actually trying to have some positivity,” Jeff says of the album’s message. “With a definite message that if we don’t, we’re fucked. There are little things throughout the record that point to a positive direction. On the whole, the message is, let’s try and get it together, or we’re fucked.”

The Quantum Phase is a superb album. As a four-piece, you can feel that the chemistry between them is spot on. As a collective, they have inspired George Lynch to even greater heights. 

This is the old classic album where you want to sit down with it, listen to the first track, and go right the way through to the end. It’s a proper album. Does Jeff think the album is still important these days? 

“I think it is with this audience,” he says. “I think the people that buy our stuff, listen to the whole thing. They don’t just listen to the single. There are a lot of people that will only hear the single because they will see it on Facebook or whatever. But the people who buy the record definitely listen to the whole record. 

“So for us, the album is very important. Just as an artist, if I’m going to make a record, I want to make it a whole record. I don’t want to let anything go and have a bunch of filler in there and just concentrate on one or two songs. 

“For me, the album is important. I think for our audience it’s important. I’m not going to let up any time soon.”

Jeff is right. This is an important album. For me, it is remarkable and an album that will sit in my albums of the year list this Christmas for sure.

Sleeve Notes

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