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Dokken Lightning Strikes Again Frontiers Records
FRCD349
· Produced By: Don Dokken

· Running Time:

· Release Date: April 11

· Released:

· Musical Style: Hard Rock

· Links: Frontiers
85%
Songs: 85%
Sound: 90%
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.
The Bottom Line
The album sounds great musically speaking (aside from a couple of modern sounding tracks) and the production is first rate. The songs (again with a couple of exceptions) are strong and memorable, but the lead vocal does let things down a little and with a more intense in your face vocal, the album could have been quite menacing.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Breaking The Chains
· Tooth And Nail
· Under Lock And Key
· Back For The Attack
· Beast From The East
· Dokken
· Dysfunctional
· One Night Only
· Shadowlife
· Erase The Slate
· Live From The Sun
· Live '95
· Long Way Home
· Hell To Pay
· Lightning Strikes Again

Line Up:
· Don Dokken: Vocals
· Jon Levin: Guitar
· Mick Brown: Drums
· Barry Sparks: Bass

Essential For Fans Of:
· Dokken
Track Listing
· Standing On The Outside *
· Give Me A Reason
· Heart To Stone *
· Disease
· How I Miss Your Smile
· Oasis
· Point Of No Return
· I Remember
· Judgment Day *
· It Means
· Release Me
· This Fire *

--*Best Tracks


02/12/09: DJ - djpstar69@gmail.com
Rating: 90
I have a soft spot for Dokken,they rarely disappoint and their distinctive style has always been pleasing to my ears through the years.Lightning Strikes Again is all about John Levin.....This shredder has brought new life to this band and is the pacemaker for the bum heart that Don has in terms of trying to secure a stable line up.This is just another great Dokken album to add to all the others they've released and i welcome it with open arms.Keep 'em coming guys."standing On the Outside" is already a classic in my book

20/12/08: leo - treasurestocash@gmail.com
Rating: 94
The best thing to come out in 2008 or in fact the last few years. Some of the playing sends them chills right up your spine. Don's voice is a little weaker then it used to be, but this is the best cd since Under Lock and Key.A must buy.Couldn't get this out of my cd player for 3 months. Jon Levin is a great replacement for George Lynch (who seems to went to hell in the last decade).

16/12/08: Jimmy Beach - rachelbeach@comcast.com
Rating: 100
I'm sorry for waiting so long to review this cd especially after buying this the day it was released but this is a OUTSTANDING cd..GEORGE WHO ??? Too bad all them guys could never get along because they made some GREAT music back in the day but this cd is my favorite of them all.. Don needs to lose the wig though,shaved heads is cool now anyway.....

03/07/08: Zok - micke_016@hotmail.com
Rating: 91
Dokkenīs best record since the 80īs. With many great songs, the negative is maybe that they could rock a little bit more. But check this out.

26/06/08: Michael - angra55t@yahoo.com
Rating: 90
The best stuff I heard from Dokken since underrated "Dysfunctional". However, Don tries at times to mix 'old and new' but few bands can do it. Scorpions can, Motley Crue on new album can but Dokken is going at times waaaay to modern like on the song "Disease". At least, "Lightning" is better than almost all post-reunion works to me, that's for sure.

26/06/08: Mike - MHBJR1932@yahoo.com
Rating: 95
As a fan that buys just about everthing that comes out in this genre, I have to say this disc is a must buy, yeah Don's voice isnt like the 80's but he is in his mid 50's for crying out loud. The songwriting & the hooks are what melodic rock is all about for me. For someone to say there is nothing catchy on this disc did not give this disc a chance.

22/06/08: Hanuk Park - kinghanuk@naver.com
Rating: 90
This review is too harsh and lacks understanding on what's going on in Dokken land in general.

At first you have to realize that Don was born in 53. Don will never sound as crystal clear as he did in the 80s and it's safe to say that you will never get to hear his shimmering scream again, but his gruffness and rasp sound actually very pleasing on this album and give this one a new character. It was completely unnessary to spend half the review on "how he can't hit the high notes anymore" because nowadays, vocalists of newer bands can't even sing anymore.

What make this album a keeper are songs. 'Standing on the Outside', 'Give Me a Reason', 'Heart to Stone', 'Point of No Return', 'Judgement Day' and 'This Fire' all easily could've been hits if they were released in 87.

And Jon Levin, the most shredding laywer ever, as of now is maybe even better than Lynch himself in sounding like the 80s Lynch, this is one of the best guitar rock albums that I've heard in a very long time.

I hear a couple of fillers in 'Disease' and 'It Means' that sound like they came from 'Hell To Pay' but overall 'Lightning Strikes Again' is better than anything Dokken released since 'Back for the Attack'.

15/06/08: Nick - nickmelara@yahoo.com
Rating: 99
It's rare that I find get a new CD that I actually listen to for weeks on end. This CD has hooked me and is the first Dokken release since Dysfunctional to do so. If the guys can take it a step further in terms of retro songwriting for the next release it will be a monster. Look, I think Don has the greatest voice of all the 80's rock vox, but after 40 your voice lowers a few steps. At least he is attempting to reach vocal heights that most wouldn't have the guts to try. I'd love to hear more higher harmonies above Don's lead vocal on the next release. This might take a few of these songs such as Oasis out of "second gear."

13/06/08: gregg - gmcpa1@verizon.net
Rating: 80
Dokken's voice is an issue. Some filler here. "Heart to Stone" is the best track. Nothing outstanding. The recently released Whitelion and Whitesnake cds are superior releases

28/05/08: Richard Hall - drhall01@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
It's Dokken man, nuff said..........."Standing On The Outside" is a brand new Dokken Classic...........Get It

27/05/08: Steve - farrarsm@yahoo.com
Rating: 85
To these ears, this is one of Dokken's better outings, certainly since Erase the Slate. Not all of the songs have caught up with me - It Means being one - but on the whole, this album re-captures some of the "old" band sound. In the long run, that's probably going to bore me - really, how many times can you go back to the same well? - but this proved to be a pleasant surprise.

27/05/08: Richard - waddellrichie@netscape.net
Rating: 80
I have always loved Dokken and have bought all their cd's since Back for The Attack in 1987.The songs are really good and the sound is fantastic but Don just cannot sing like he used to,understandable considering his age. He really struggles to hit the high notes.The cd is better then I thought it could be but the vocals let it down on certain songs.

26/05/08: Ross S. - restorey2001@yahoo.com
Rating: 70
This might be my least favorite Dokken album besides "Shadowlife." It's clear that Jon Levin brought some strong riffs to the table, but I find his soloing leaves a lot to be desired. It sounds a bit like Lynch, but it really lacks the fire. Likewise, Don Dokken sounds oddly subdued on this album. The promise of a return to a more rocking sound doesn't hold. They've got a bunch of mid-tempo rocking tunes here, and the album could use more variety - both with another ballad and some more aggressive stuff. Mick Brown and Barry Sparks' parts could have been played by anyone and are not as distinctive as on previous albums. Realistically, the last two albums show just how important Jeff Pilson was to the Dokken sound. His ability to write melodic songs and assist Don with the vocal melodies and harmonies was critical to this band. Drafting help from Kelly Keeling and/or Jeff Scott Soto hasn't made up the difference. When Don talks about this being (perhaps) the last Dokken record, I can literally hear why.

26/05/08: Robert Lisanti - robmlisanti@aol.com
Rating: 80
I'm on the fence with this album, The Vocals on the album by Don are OK not great, but the guitar playing and riffs make up for it. Also the production is excellent. I actually enjoy it alot. Takes a couple of listens..again this is a good album..not great.

20/05/08: mike - mabba@liquid.com
Rating: 90
Dokken is one of my all time favorites and I totally agree with the Melodic Rock review above. Even though I'm thrilled to have a new Dokken record, Don's weak vox in way too many spots bummed me out. It sickens me when I see guys like Don and Geoff Tate puffing away on cigarettes. ANYWAY, he strained even in the old days, but for some reason, I can listen to his voice all day long. Jon Levin makes it all work again. If this is it for Dokken, they went out pretty strong.

18/05/08: STEVE - roknrosevile@yahoo.com
Rating: 89
ALOT BETTER THAN THE DEF LEPPARD CD!!!
JON LEVIN SOUNDS KILLER DON SOUNDS GOOD MAYBE HE DOESN'T HIT THE HIGH NOTES LIKE BEFORE BUT ALL IN ALL THIS CD DOESN'T SUCK!
THE BALLAD I REALLY MISS YOUR SMILE IS GREAT!!
I THINK I'LL KEEP THIS CD!!!

17/05/08: Edu - liquidsky@bol.com.br
Rating: 90
Very good album, really sounds like old Dokken. All the credits to the new "guitar hero" Jon Levin (fantastic job). Give me a reason is one of the best dokken songs ever. DOKKEN'N' ROLL!

17/05/08: Peter - sudfryslan@yahoo.com
Rating: 65
This cd isnīt that great, itīs okay but nothing more than that.
The guitar work is absolutely a good Lynch imitation again and Donīs vocal limitations nowadays arenīt really the problem for me.
The recent albums just canīt hold a candle to Back For the Attack or Dysfunctional to name a few.
The first 4 songs are good, after that things start cavinī in fast. It all misses some kind of spark, maybe itīs the age that makes things mellower, laid back and boaring.

The absolute worsed song is I Remember, a horrible ballad which could be on a Scorpions album. Actually īHow I miss your Smileī is an awfull song as well,a thirteen in a dozen ballad.

Just when I thought throwing the disc out, all of a sudden thereīs īRelease Meī which has all the balls Dokken was known for, a Hard, Rocking, Song. At least this song reminded me of why I used to love this band. The European bonus track Sunset Superstar sounds good as well.

The most positive Summary, 6 good songs out of 13...

15/05/08: Todd - twigren@comcast.net
Rating: 95
One of my most antisipated Cd's of the year and all I can say is Thank you Don!!! This album can stand beside any release Dokken has put out. Hell, I'm still listening to the Hell To Pay CD. Every release from my favorite 80's artists lately has exceded my expectations. Scorpions, Bruce Springsteen, Whitesnake, Loverboy, Eagles, Def Leppard and now this, has me loving the melodic rock scene as much as I did back in 87, 88.
Yes Don's voice has gotten a little mellow over the last couple of years, but hey, what can you expect from someone who has sang his heart out for 25 years! I love this album and hope there is more to come from not only Dokken but others from that era. Don't push the limits, just put out great rock. The rock that made you famous in the first place.

15/05/08: John - sunlessdreams555@yahoo.com
Rating: 100
This cd is excellent all the way through. The 85 that Andrew gave is just insane. Some people need to except Don does not sound like he did 20 years ago and get over it! He still sounds very good and in fact has had recent surgery that will help his voice out. This cd features some of the best guitar playing as well. My choice for melodic metal cd of 2008.

BTW, despite what Andrew claims Don is NOT "bored" with Dokken. Sorry buddy, you dropped the ball on this one!!

14/05/08: Ralf - sr.biermann@freenet.de
Rating: 90
Great, absolutly great. It reminds me of the good old times from the fantastic band DOKKEN!

14/05/08: Booper71 - booper71@cinci.rr.com
Rating: 82
A solid album that suffers only in vocal intensity. If Don recorded this cd back to back with the superior Erase the Slate - he would've still had the tools.

14/05/08: the rocker - jrachubinski@yahoo.com
Rating: 95
this cd is very good. even without lynch, it really does'nt matter.great guitars, great songs. and no matter what people say don's voice is not that bad. a must buy, along with the whitesnake.

14/05/08: Scott - SPDPTARA@aol.com
Rating: 80
One of my all time favorite bands! I agree quite a bit with the Melodic review. Jon Levin's guitar work sounds fantastic. I agree that Don's voice sounds strained. My eyes almost water when he strains to hit those tough notes in the harder songs. His voice sounds great when the songs mellow a bit, but he definitely seems to be weak. Overall, I am happy with the songs and I will not repeat what has already been said since it is quite accurate. Don's solo disc Solitary was too lame, so it was refreshing to hear Don, Wild Mick, Gary and Jon crank it out here.

14/05/08: William - williamslestat@yahoo.com
Rating: 96
I loved this album! Song after song was very pleased with the music and the production. Don Dokken had a solo album which had a song called(Mirror, Mirror) and the opening track has a similar riff which is an excellent move in my opinion! Next Heart of Stone is vintage Dokken, and songs like Oasis, and Judgement Day remind me of songs like, "too high to fly"! This record contains about 6 great rockers, and 1 excellent ballad with a 2nd ballad that still has a very catchy chorus, while lacking in a creative elaborate intro, but the chorus is very melodic! This ranks with one my my favorites over the past 2 years!

13/05/08: Chris Kaiser - soundadvice2k@bresnan.net
Rating: 0
After listening to just the first few tracks from LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN I would agree with the title. Don Dokken has found a guitar player who sounds and plays like George Lynch and that is probably what most of us wanted. I love the classic Dokken sound and this CD has it going on big time. Don's voice still sounds very good, although, at times you can hear he is not as smooth as glass anymore. This is a very good sounding album and I can't find any weekness in any songs. I love it and it's my favorite since BACK FOR THE ATTACK.

13/05/08: Greg - darkwave2000@hotmail.com
Rating: 90
This is the best release since Erase The Slate. Like Queensryche with Operation Mindcrime II, Dokken finally gave the fans what they wanted; a return to the 80's sound of their hey day. It's scary (pun intended) that no matter what guitar player Don Dokken gets in the band (Beach, Norum, Levin) he brings those Lynchisms out of them and you have to remind yourself that George Lynch isn't playing. Mick Brown is one of the most underrated drummers in hard rock. I didn't really appreciate him until he channeled Rush's Neil Peart on "What Price" from the Dysfunctional CD. He does a stellar job here as usual. Yes, Don's voice is a little shot, but I kind of like the new raspy delivery he has. One might argue he always sounded a little too juvenile before and now he's got a world-wise, smokey tone going on which works for me. The addition of Jeff Scott Soto to the background vocals works magic. I don't really like him as a lead vocalist (neither did Journey, apparently) but he adds a good sound to the background vocals and choruses.
-Standing On The Outside starts off the disc pretty well. It's got a good chorus and the guitar soloing is pure Lynch.
-Give Me A Reason has a vocal bridge that reminds you of Don's excellent 1st solo album Up From The Ashes. It was a little too pedestrian when I first heard it, but the song has really grown on me.
-Heart To Stone starts off with 2 plain vocal lines and then Don sings "I am free at last" with perfect grit and launches into a wailing melody that grabs you. The song ends a little weird with a call and response wrap-up of the chorus but over-all it's a great Dokken track.
-Disease is awesome! It's a great album cut with a killer groove and a haunting chorus with, I believe, Mick Brown harmonizing to really sell the twistedness of it all. The guitar solo echoes the classic solo from "Just Got Lucky" off of Tooth And Nail to great effect.
-How I Miss Your Smile is an OK ballad that really doesn't do much for me. It's very mainstream sounding. Sounds like it belongs on Long Way Home or Shadowlife. The verses remind me a lot of the verses from "Convenience Store Messiah" from Shadowlife; one of the few tracks I liked from that release.
-Oasis is the first track I heard from the new album when I found it on Dokken's myspace page. I didn't really like it at first. Especially since I heard the new stuff was going to be like classic Dokken and here was this track that sounded straight off Hell To Pay. I like it a lot now. It has a nice acoustic section after the guitar solo which is like the "oasis" of the song.
-Point Of No Return is a fine double-time rocker with Don's voice working really well with the melody. There's a cringe-inducing moment at the end when Don tries to go for the high note and misses but at least you know it's him singing and not some pro-tools concoction.
-I Remember is a much better ballad with fantastic lyrics: "as we look to the sky/watching love pass us by/one more time/we try and catch a ride." Beautiful imagery. The song really could of used a killer Lynch solo ala Alone Again but Levin does OK.
-Judgement Day is a great bluesy Dokken tune like Heaven Sent or Too High To Fly. The guitar solo is so Lynchian it's frightening.
-It Means is almost too sluggish with it's plodding rhythm reminiscent of "When Heaven Comes Down" from Tooth And Nail but then springs into this amazing harmonized chorus. There's great middle-eastern vocal melodies. A great song about cutting someone loose whose dragging you down.
-Release Me takes the riff from Tool's "Sober" and turns it into an amazing Dokken song. It sounds like it would be right at home on Erase The Slate but works well here too.
-This Fire is a good album closer. It's a subdued metal-boogie with interesting lyrics where, if viewed in the right context, almost sounds like a confession from Don saying he's not really into this hard rock thing anymore. But, it can also sound like a dying relationship song.
All in all, not much to complain about here. In this day and age, Lightning Strikes Again is a worthy addition to the Dokken catalog. Praise to Don, Jon, Mick and Barry for keeping the faith and trudging forth to keep this kind of music alive.

13/05/08: Big Mike - bigmike456@hotmail.com
Rating: 40
I really thought this was going to be a great record....but theres nothing catchy here at all.
Everything post shadowlife beats this release for mine and
probably all before it aswell. The songs are just boring.
There was a long wait for this record. Clearly they were not using the time to work on this record. Hope Dons Solo is better.


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