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DOKKEN / ERASE THE SLATE
LABEL: CMC INTERNATIONAL 06076-86274-2
OVERALL: 82%
Produced by: Dokken
  1. Erase The Slate
  2. Change The World
  3. Maddest Hatter
  4. Drown
  5. Shattered
  6. One
  7. Who Believes
  8. Voice Of The Soul
  9. Crazy Mary Goes Round
  10. Haunted Lullabye
  11. In Your Honor
I waited in quiet anticipation of this release. I was never a huge Dokken fan (apologies!), but really took to the Japanese self titled release that would later be remixed and re-issued in the USA as Dysfunctional. The Japanese CD was better I think.
The band continued on, in despite of their often turbulent relationship with guitarist George Lynch and singed a new deal with CMC International. Whatever when through their heads past that point, God only knows, because their next album Shadowlife remains their most universally disliked and worst selling album to date.
Then a ray of light - Lynch is finally dispensed with and ex-Winger guitarist Reb Beach climbs aboard. Then it's into the studio to apparently recapture their classic sound.
And Erase The Slate (great title) is the result.
Have they returned to their classic sound? Well not totally, this is still a fairly contemporary sounding release, but damn it is a fine record.
There is a mixture of the old and the new on this album as Reb Beach ignites a new spark into the band and the songs definitely return to more melodic roots.
While it may not be Under Lock And Key or Tooth And Nail, I don't think there will be too many dissatisfied Dokken fans anywhere. This album rocks and rocks with melody.
Erase The Slate opens Dokken's 1999 account. Fast, furious, hard rocking and guitars everywhere. Solid riffs and guitar chopping all over the song. Don Dokken sounds great - hard, powerful, passionate and carrying a cool melody.
Reb shows that he is not going to be intimidated by the legacy left by George Lynch with a big building solo and some smooth ass playing. Just check out the last minute of the track. Huge!
Change The World is next in line and offers the closest thing to a rock anthem on the album. It's heavy still, but would make a good radio track, as it has softer moments and is clearly the most commercial song of the album. Great melody and huge Don Dokken lead chorus.
Maddest Hatter gets the pulse running again with more fast paced riffing. I like the vocal on this one. A dark bridge leads into a tempo changing mid paced verse similar to the feel of Dysfunctional.
An extended intro leads into Drown - a more modern track, pretty heavy again, and more in the line of Shadowlife.
Shattered's soft intro is cool, but it isn't long until it turns heavy. Another more modern 90's track, the chorus is still more melodic than anything on the last record.
One is a total surprise! This old Harry Nilsson track is more familiar to me as a classic John Farnham live number where he absolutely shreds the ass off it! Sure enough after it's usual pop intro and soft first half, Dokken take the same route. This rocks! Anyone familiar with the original will get a kick out of this. Great live number too.
Who Believes is a mid paced heavy ballad. Not bad, moody, with a chorus that rises, but maybe not quite enough. But it seems to be a grower also. Keep listening.
Voice Of The Soul is another 90's heavy track, again with more added melody than anything off Shadowlife making it a much more pleasurable listen.
Crazy Mary Goes Round is great! wild Mick Brown makes his vocal debut here. Just good fun pop hard rock here. A great party tune and another good live track. When's the solo album?
Haunted Lullabye is heavy and modern and experiments with that distorted vocal effect unfortunately, but only briefly. Good strong and solid bridge and chorus. Mid paced throughout.
In Your Honor ends this hard rocking album surprisingly with an acoustic ballad. It gets heavier, or more electric towards the end and is hardly your typical ballad. A little Beatles influence in there, as Don Dokken has done before, but a good track nevertheless.
And that is that. A pretty satisfying listen and a much more attractive offer than Shadowlife ever was. I still prefer the self titled/Dysfunctional album, but not by a whole lot. This is a solid album by some of hard rock's most loved dinosaurs.
And picking up and running with Reb Beach may have just saved them from extinction. His contribution to this album is considerable, but there is also plenty of credit due to the rest of the gang.
PRODUCTION: 84%SONGS: 80%VIBE: 82%ATTITUDE: 85%
ESSENTIAL FOR: Most Dokken / Don Dokken fans, some Winger fans, all Reb Beach fans.
DISCOGRAPHY: Breaking The Chains . Tooth And Nail . Under Lock And Key . Back For The Attack . Beast From The East . Dokken . Dysfunctional . Shadowlife . Erase The Slate . Best Of Dokken; Reb Beach - Winger; Don Dokken solo - Up From The Ashes



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