Lightning Strikes Again

This album has had all the anticipatory promo one would expect from a classic band. Yes, Dokken is a classic band. The band’s first 4 albums are legend amongst fans of ‘80s Metal. Call them a “Hair Band” all you want, but Dokken had something few of its peers at the time did…musicality. To lump Dokken in the same camp as Motley Crue or Twisted Sister is a crime because, although pop history will tell it different, this band was much more. No visual gimmicks, no shallow party anthems, just pure Melodic Metal from start to finish.

Fast forward to 2008, and Dokken (reduced to 2 original members) is releasing Lightning Strikes Again. Not only is the title a throwback to the song of the same name from the band’s 1985 album Under Lock And Key, it is meant to put people in that frame of mind. You know, the whole “Dokken is back!” propaganda thing. Having released many solid albums since reforming in 1995, this is the first album that has truly captured some of the spirit and sound of those original four albums. Don sounds solid, but it’s apparent early on that the wailing voice of the early days is showing its age. But, hey, you try singing in a touring Rock band for 25+ years and see if you don’t develop a few cracks in the old armor. The man still retains his signature style in 2008, albeit a bit more reined in.

“Standing On The Outside” comes out of the gate as a classic sounding Dokken tune, complete with a riff similar to “It’s Not Love” or “Mirror, Mirror” and guitarist John Levin’s own personal tribute to (or blatant attempt to copy) George Lynch. This is not a slight against Levin, who is truly a monster player. When I say “copy”, I say it in the sense that this style was 100% intentional. It’s supposed to sound like old Dokken, and it does. Others with leanings toward that classic style would be “Oasis”, “Give Me A Reason”, “Heart To Stone” and “Point Of No Return”. There are hints of what this incarnation of the band can do when left to its own devices as well. “Disease” is a very strong track with a more modern take on Melodic Hard Rock…the same with “It Means”. The rest of the record is much like the last few Dokken records…solid, melodic rock songs played by a strong band. So, while Lynch’s ghost haunts some of this record, the band still stands well on its own.

Fans who have been demanding an album that sounds like the early days will be fairly satisfied here. It’s not a 100% re-telling of the glory years, nor should it be. It’s a balanced rendition of the band drawing from all of its history (well, except for the dismal Shadowlife…thankfully, they ignored that one). Dokken fans, and Melodic Rock fans in general, should be pleased.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
April 19th, 2008


  1. Commented by:

    Nice review. This is really worth checking it out.

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