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Too many ballads spoil the broth - 70%

olo, July 20th, 2008

How do you like some classic Dokken? And how about the album with Reb Beach ripping, Erase the Slate? I like them. Certainly not a fan of Don's (lack of) singing abilities, but that was a bit of a common gripe with a few 80s hard rock bands for me. Dokken's tenth album Lightning Strikes Again was released after a delay of a few months earlier this year and features the line-up of Don on vocals, Jon Levin on guitars, the ever-reliable Barry Sparks on bass, and Mick Brown on drums.

The two opening songs are classic Dokken. Not as good riffs-wise but with Jon Levin's incredible George Lynch clone solos, this is a good start. If you came to an opinion about the album with the first three songs, the fourth one titled Disease is going to make you change that. While the first three songs was 80s rock in a nutshell with the third one, Heart to Stone even sounding like a Jabs era Scorpions song, Disease is total 90s modern rock riffing and vocals even have effects. The good news is, the sound doesn't appear again.

And if you thought Disease dropped the quality here, How I Miss Your Smile is the slow cheesy romantic ballad and Oasis is another ballad-y song with metal guitars. Point of No Return brings things back in full force. It's amazing how many old bands are going back to giving what the true long term fans want from them. Agreed, Jon Levin might need to show off more of his own style, but if he can pull of so many awesome George Lynch-like solos like on this song, I have no right whatsoever to complain.

Point of No Return was a short reprieve though. I remember begins like When the Smoke is Going Down and goes on to sound like one of the many Scorpions' world-peace anthems. Don's no Klaus, but his voice is as good/bad as it has always been. Great solo again!

Judgement Day is total 80s chuggy metal though. I love it when songs begin with heavy drums with riffs and then a stinging lead guitar intro come in before the verse begins. The chorus though, is cheesy: “Don't want to live without you, you are my world, you are my life; don't want to be without you, on judgement day”, and softens things up a little, but the bluesy fills on verses are fucking great. Not to mention the big main solo around 2:20. It Means is a mixed bag. But the good news is, there's a lot of classic Dokken rhythm guitars here and throughout the album.

The album finishes with a final sample of what they're about and what 80s rock is about. A ballad in Release Me and an ass kicker of an album-closer called This Fire.

Too many ballads spoil the broth here, but if you're a fan of 80s rock, you must get this. Jon Levin evokes many classic George Lynch moments, so get your air guitar and have your best guitar-faces ready when you give this a spin.

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