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It's pretty safe to say that Dokken may be the biggest bunch of wimps to ever be accepted in the Metal Archives. True, they never reached the abysmal level of lameness reserved for bands such as Winger, but they were never quite as commanding as their peers in Dio or the older Motley Crue. Thankfully, they managed to gain a degree of respect due to their solid songwriting skills and technical prowess.
While Dokken has always had a commercial edge in their music, this album showcases the band going for a more accessible style. Most of the album's songs seem to go between upbeat mid-tempo rockers and somewhat stereotypical power ballads with a few variations in between. Thankfully, most of them are still made entertaining thanks to the skillfully executed hooks and instantly catchy choruses. They also retained a bit of the previous album's edge with "Lightnin' Strikes Again" and "Til the Livin' End," the former being a personal favorite track and the latter sounding a lot like a rewrite of "Turn On the Action." Also worth noting is "The Hunter" with its solid grooves and catchy chorus.
Despite a lighter approach, the band still puts on a pretty solid performance. Guitarist George Lynch is the album's main highlight as he delivers plenty of solid riffs and solos and the rhythm section is fairly solid as well though with few stand-out moments. I do have somewhat mixed views on vocalist Don Dokken, who I've noticed sounds like a combination of Glenn Hughes, Paul Di'Anno, and Klaus Meine (probably why he was allegedly asked to sing on the demos for the Scorpions' "Blackout"). While he can certainly carry a tune, he doesn't quite have the range that he thought he had. Fortunately the only cringeworthy moments occur at the climax of "Lightnin' Strikes Again" when he attempts to hit some high notes and doesn't quite succeed...
Despite a lighter tone, this manages to come out as a solid Dokken album. Worth checking out for fans of the band and early classic/glam metal.
1) Solid guitar/rhythm section work
2) Accessible songwriting and enjoyable hooks
1) An inconsistent vocal performance at times
2) The lighter tone will turn off heavier music fans
3) A less memorable second side
My Current Favorites:
"Unchain the Night," "The Hunter," "In My Dreams," "Lightnin' Strikes Again," and "It's Not Love"