“Lightning Strikes Again” by Dokken

Artist: Dokken
Title: “Lightning Strikes Again”
Label: Rhino Entertainment
Release Date: 5/13/2008
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 4/5

When you think of the bands that really made an impact on the Big Metal scene of the eighties you just know that one of the first names to come to mind is going to be none other than Dokken. Since their inception in 1976, the band came into Rock prominence with their debut release “Breaking The Chains” (1983) and by the time their sophomore release “Tooth And Nail” (1984) hit, the band had seemed to reach stratospheric heights and their videos were running rampant on that new medium called MTV while conventional radio was welcoming some of their tracks in a regular rotation. The got lumped into the Glam Metal title but they were clearly a little deeper than many of those bands based on the level of technical ability displayed by guitarist George Lynch and the overall heaviness of their material. Over the years the band has changed somewhat in terms of lineup, as Lynch and Pilson are no longer a part of the group, but singer Don Dokken remains in place with original drummer “Wild” Mick Brown and together along with guitarist Jon Levin and journeyman bassist Barry Sparks have delivered “Lightning Strikes Again”. For those only coming into the picture now and wondering how the band could continue without the firepower of Lynch well let me be the first to say that Jon Levin kicks ass and has been doing justice to the bands classics on the live stage for a number of years. As far as bassist Sparks goes, well he counts UFO and Ted Nugent among his many credits so you know he is more than a capable player for anything Don and company can dish out. The title of the album is also fantastic for on “Lightning Strikes Again” we are finding a Dokken that has returned to the form that many of us first enjoyed in the band. It’s by no means a retro-album but instead one that plays upon the sounds and textures that made them one of the favorites and brings them together with a crunching vibe for the new millennium.

As soon as you begin your listen you almost feel as if you had gone back in time with the band and perhaps are hearing to some unreleased tracks from back in their heyday. “Standing On The Outside” starts it off and offers you that sweet melodic guitar and smooth chorus that has you singing along in no time. I found that this was always something that Dokken seemed to excel at and when “Give Me A Reason” begins you learn that the band is back at it and giving the listener the kind of sound that made them so popular in the first place. Tracks like “Point Of No Return” had the drive and delivery that I loved about songs like “Tooth And Nail” and while at one point Don shows that he cannot always seem to hit the high notes of the past his voice all over the recording is still really good after having done this for so long. There is a couple of slower numbers that do the trick but no real replacement for “Alone Again” which is good since that is one of the quintessential Metal ballads of our time. I think that “Lightning Strikes Again” will come across as a release that the fans will appreciate for quite a long time and while I sometimes miss the abilities of Lynch, I can’t say that I pine for him too much based on the confidence displayed on the axe by Jon Levin. He is really something and does some incredible lead work. Great job Jon. The rhythm section of Brown and Sparks is also spot on and finds the pair working together well. They even recorded Ted Nugent’s latest release “Love Grenade” for those who might be interested in hearing just how tight they can be together. The album continues the run of fine returns to form that we have heard on recent Whitesnake and Def Leppard releases. Both of these bands have delivered albums that were also natural progressions forward but ones that brought back that which made them superstars. In that aspect there is no more exploration into uncharted or untested territory going on with this Dokken album and instead we get a journey back to sounds that people remember fondly. Lyrics are enclosed in the booklet and the recording will have you head banging very quickly and starting it over once again upon its completion.

Track Listing:
1. Standing On The Outside
2. Give Me A Reason
3. Heart To Stone
4. Disease
5. How I Miss Your Smile
6. Oasis
7. Point Of No Return
8. I Remember
9. Judgement Day
10. It Means
11. Release Me
12. This Fire

Official Website: www.dokken.net

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