|Dokken Lightning Strikes Again||Frontiers Records|
Ever since Dokken took a left turn with the hideous Shadowlife album, there have been calls for the band to return to their classic 80s sound.|
While recent releases have been more melodically friendly, there is one thing that is clear. Dokken will never return to the sound of Under Lock And Key until vocalist Don Dokken sings in the manner he did on those old releases and that is simply never going to happen.
So we must accept the new Dokken for what it is. Don cannot sing like he used to and it is a sad fact that Don himself must be considered the weak link in this release.
Don's voice is far more restrained these days and now of a lower register and if we are honest here, Don generally sounds as if he is singing within himself until he goes for a bigger note, where he then sounds as if he had to strain to get there.
There are examples all over this record, but the verse vocal in Give Me A Reason is one of the worst.
Jeff Scott Soto can be heard throughout adding texture to the backing vocals and at times he is responsible for lifting the choruses out of second gear for the band.
The star of this album for me – without any shadow of a doubt – is guitarist Jon Levin, who has produced his very best to make this album as punchy as it can be and closest to the band's heyday sound as possible. And he achieves his goal and further's his good name in the process.
Jon's authoritve riffing and the generally punchy sound of the album as a whole are the two reasons it works. His guitar is all over this record.
The opening trio of rockers – Standing On The Outside, Give Me A Reason and Heart To Stone are all cool, guitar fueled old-school rockers and will keen Dokken fans happy.
The even more uptempo Point Of No Return is another solid track; Judgment Day and the groove filled closer This Fire are also highlights.
There are a few fillers here also though. Don slips into old habits on the modern rock influenced tone of Disease, which does nothing for me and Oasis is similar.
And How I Miss Your Smile is a very bland ballad. Thankfully I Remember is a little better.
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