“The Definitive Rock Collection” by Dokken

Artist: Dokken
Title: “The Definitive Rock Collection”
Label: Rhino Entertainment
Release Date: 4/26/2006
Genre: Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

For most of my years as a fan of the Metal I have always been able to appreciate the talents and contributions made to the genre by the guys in Dokken. Let’s face it, even though they were often unfairly dumped into the category of your average “Hair Metal” band, you have to agree that the guys clearly delivered the goods and brought a lot more to the table with their brand of Melodic Heavy Metal than most of their peers. That being said and understood makes looking over this particular Greatest Hits collection a little easier because from beginning to end there are just so many good songs to raise the horns about. The band released a “Very Best of Dokken” back in 1999 and every track from that release is presented here with the exception of the Don Dokken solo track of “Mirror, Mirror”. If you as a buyer of this CD can live without that particular tune, you can easily swap that collection for this one and make the older version a present to some young Metal head in training. This collection is a double CD affair and features thirty of the bands most essential numbers and makes the “Definitive” labeling rather appropriate.

As far as Anthologies go, this one does the band justice by paying the closest attention to the bands most influential years which in Dokken’s case was their earliest stuff. We get five tracks from their debut “Breaking The Chains” which include the powerful self titled tune and then six from “Tooth And Nail”, an album that I remember was my own very first exposure to the band outside of the couple of videos that I saw from their debut airing on the U68 Power Hour (a reference that I know ages me greatly but I digress). Had the “Best Of” ended after the bands first three albums it still would have been extraordinary as the material that singer Don Dokken, guitar virtuoso George Lynch, bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer “Wild” Mick Brown were doing was instantly accessible, catchy and still retained a truly heavy vibe. Historically the band had formed in 1978, but really wasn’t picking up any serious attention from the wider public until about 1983. We also get selections from “Under Lock and Key”, Back For the Attack”, Beast from the East”, Dysfunctional” and “Hell to Pay”. Sadly, the release leaves off any of the bands material that they presented on the acoustic “One Live Night”. Of course this was probably done to avoid repetition, but I think that the fans would have found their reworking of the classic tunes rather interesting. The band still continues to tour in today’s music world but gone is bassist and guitarist Pilson and Lynch, and they have currently been replaced by Barry Sparks and Jon Levin. Reb Beach served up some guitar for an album, but he went back to work with Whitesnake before we really got to see what levels he would take the band in had he remained. Oddly enough, none of the material from the album he was on is presented here for the listener and the collection skips a total of three albums before it continues. In the larger scheme of things I have seen Levin in action a few times and from this I can say that the classic and new material is in very good hands with him on the axe.

“Best Of” releases are generally tricky because they always manage to leave something out that a fan like me would really want to see and this one is no exception to some of those who might purchase it. I had to say that they managed to get to every song that I wanted to find here and that makes me review this as one of the better compilations available to the fans. Given my first go at the band was with “Tooth And Nail” I admit to leaning on the tracks from this one the most. Of course how can you argue about how tasty a track like “Just Got Lucky” was, how thundering “Tooth And Nail” was and how “Alone Again” was a ballad by which hundreds after it would be measure by. Fans of liner notes like me will appreciate the in-depth look at the bands career care of writer Bryan Reesman and the sixteen page booklet offers not only this commentary but vintage photos and a delineation of what album each of the tracks came from.

Snare this one as soon as possible and play it loud.

Track Listing:
1. Breaking The Chains
2. Felony
3. Live To Rock (Rock To Live)
4. Nightrider
5. Paris Is Burning (Live)
6. Tooth And Nail
7. Just Got Lucky
8. Don’t Close Your Eyes
9. Into The Fire
10. Alone Again
11. Turn On The Action
12. Unchain The Night
13. The Hunter
14. In My Dreams
15. Lightnin’ Strikes Again
16. It’s Not Love
17. Til The Livin’ End
18. Prisoner
19. Heaven Sent
20. Mr. Scary
21. So Many Tears
22. Burning Like A Flame
23. Dream Warriors
24. Walk Away
25. Kiss Of Death (live)
26. When Heaven Comes Down (live)
27. Standing In The Shadows (live)
28. Too High To Fly
29. Long Way Home
30. Escape

Official Website: http://www.dokken.net

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