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Shredding on the sun. - 87%

hells_unicorn, November 21st, 2009

Being 2nd best is largely reliant on how good the prevailing winner is, and if that winner is the godly “Beast From The East” in the category of Dokken live albums, it’s could be seen as quite an accomplishment. In the sense that the famed 1988 live album can be seen as the band’s peak before the fatal plunge, “Live From The Sun” can be seen as them clawing their way back up from the valley for one last attempt at reliving their once held glory. It is an exceptional performance by a band that is only slightly weathered, mostly in the vocal department, by the wear and tear of more than 20 years on the road.

After losing longtime and instrumental powerhouse guitarist George Lynch, the logical choice of a successor would be one who could attempt to match chops with his wildly expressive, to the point of neurosis, approach to fret board blazing. Reb Beach, though coming from a checkered band in Winger, turns out to be the logical choice as his leads gave said 80s glam band their principle appearance of strength. At times he gets a bit carried away with the pinch screams an over-elaborates on what was essentially lead perfection, such as on the melodic guitar solo on “Alone Again”, but he stops short of turning into a pretentious, showboating, spotlight hog.

The one area where this album distinguishes itself from the others in Dokken’s catalog is the pervasiveness of added on sections to various songs. In some cases the add-ons prove to augment the song nicely, as is the case with the extended intro and ending of “Alone Again” and a collection of gravely vocal ad lib parts to go with them, as well as the extended jam section with crowd participation on “It’s Not Love”. They get carried away with how long they drag out “Too High Too Fly”, but compensate by giving Reb free reign to show just what the human hands are capable of when they don’t allow the Kurt Cobain disease to infect them. Picture an insane mishmash of Hendrix, Van Halen, Lynch, Vai, and a couple of other wild shredders who also play with feedback effects and you’ll have a basic idea.

Those seeking to own one live album by Dokken are naturally to be referred to “Beast From The East”, but this does give it a run for its money. The turn of the millennium saw a fair number of prominent bands that were either from the 80s or were created out of members from said bands come back with a vengeance, and combined with a solid album in “Erase The Slate” Dokken can definitely be counted among them. A band that reminded us metal heads that it is okay to sing about other things aside from necromancy, death, gore, occult pursuits, violence, and all those other things that mainstream society tends to shy away from, just so long as the music hits hard and doesn’t suck.