Dokken - Lightning Strikes Again
Melodic Rock
12 songs (51:06)
Release year: 2008
Dokken, Rhino
Reviewed by Jeff
Major event

2008 is really turning out to be a rebirth of sorts for some of the most popular hair metal bands from the eighties. Groups like Def Leppard, White Lion, Whitesnake and Motley Crue are releasing some of their best material in years. There is a certain hunger in the air once again that these groups have and want to satisfy. I think alot of people would agree that these bands still not only have a great deal to offer but something to prove to the fans and themselves as well.

With that being said, Don Dokken knew it was time to get back to what made Dokken such a success in the eighties. He felt it was time that a band from that era did something special and wanted to prove that their brand of music was still valid and that there was still and audience out there for it. The goal was to create an album that was their best since albums like Tooth and Nail, Under Lock and Key and Back For The Attack.

Taken from the title of a song originally found on their album Under Lock and Key, Lightning Strikes Again shows Dokken returning to their roots, delivering some of their best and strongest material since their albums during the early eighties. Lightning Strikes Again contains twelve tracks and is the bands first release for Rhino. It was mixed by Wyn Davis (Dio, Great White) and features Don Dokken (vocals), Mick Brown (drums), Jon Levin (guitar), and Barry Sparks (bass).

The opening track Standing On The Outside really gets things started off on the right foot. It almost immediately brings back the style and feel of songs from the Under Lock and Key days. It's reminiscent of a track like It's Not Love and is one of the the best Dokken songs in years. The guitar fill leads at the beginning have that George Lynch trademark style to them even though it is Jon Levin playing. One thing I noticed right away is Don Dokken's voice. He can still sing very well in the low ranges. However, his voice has finally started to show some wear and tear. He has a raspiness at times when he tries to go for higher range and for the most part he plays it safe, not even attempting to hit the notes he was once capable of hitting with ease. Give Me A Reason reminds me alot of Stop Fighting Love from Back For The Attack. It's another Dokken rocker that captures alot of the barbed-wire riffs and razor sharp melodies that solidified Dokken's place as one of the top hair metal bands of the eighties. The momentum continues with Heart To Stone. It's another killer Dokken track that is upbeat and filled with some very catchy guitar riffs and blistering guitar leads. WOW! Three killer tracks in a row! At this point I'm very impressed with what I'm hearing. Dokken is truly back in form! Disease is an interesting track. It has a grooving vibe to it with some interesting tribal like drum beats and patterns from Mick Brown. The momentum starts to slow down a bit with How I Miss Your Smile. It starts off with an acoustic guitar and then mixes in some electric . A Dokken album would not be complete with a sappy ballad. Things get back on track with Point Of No Return (no, not the Kansas song!). This track has a bit of the Tooth and Nail vibe and tempo. It's got upbeat drumming, fiery guitar solos and raspy Don Dokken vocals. In fact, he tries to go for some range on this song with his trademark scream. However, after that attempt, I think he realized he better not push it. Oasis is another hooky track with a nice mid temp pace and melodic vocal delivery as well as some George Lynch styled guitar fills. It has a nice acoustic guitar break after the solo. Speaking of acoustic guitars, I Remember continues to show that Dokken can still write some memorable power ballads. Judgment Day is another classic styled song which has riffs and vocal melodies that would fit right in on an album like Under Lock and Key. It Means starts off with a When Heaven Comes Down styled riff and maintains that slow grind throughout the verse while the chorus has a very melodic vocal melody. It's another solid track. Release Me has the same feel as songs like Oasis and Disease. It's mid tempo and is not quite a ballad but it's not a real rocker either. The album closes with This Fire. If anything, this could easily be the albums Lightning Strikes Again clone to the one found on Under Lock And Key. As a side note, there is a bonus track found on some of the European releases called Sunset Superstar. Why it is not on the US domestic releases is beyond me. Excellent song and has that Turn On the Action feel and structure to it. Killer song!

I really have to commend Dokken for finally giving the fans something they have been wanting and craving for years. Lightning Strikes Again is their best effort since Back For The Attack, hands down. Lightning Strikes Again delivers. It captures alot of what made Dokken successful in the eighties such as strong vocal harmonies and melodies combined with great guitar hooks. There is also a maturity level of sorts that doesn't make the album sound campy or dated as far as the lyrics and the music. I also have to give Jon Levin alot of credit. He seems to have sacrificed some of his own guitar playing identity and true guitar style by trying to emulate and recreate many of the nearly inimitable Lynchisms that defined the classic Dokken sound. In the end, the goal was to try and recapture the feel of albums and songs from the past and the end result is successful. However, I still have to wonder what this album would have been like if guys like George Lynch and Jeff Pilson were on it. As good as this album is, there is still a little something missing and those two are it. Had those two been on Lightning Strikes Again, it would have been the ultimate comeback. In alot of ways, Dokken has done with Levin and Sparks what KISS has done with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer; trying to fill the voids left by key players of the past so they can somehow re-capture the magic of days past and bring some satisfaction to the fans.

I highly recommend Lightning Strikes Again to any Dokken fan of their first four albums or anyone that loves eighties styled hair metal!


Killing Songs :
Standing On The Outside, Give Me A Reason, Heart To Stone, Point Of No Return, Oasis, I Remember, Judgement Day, This Fire
Jeff quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Dokken that we have reviewed:
Dokken - Unchain The Night (DVD) reviewed by Jeff and quoted No Quote
Dokken - From Conception: Live 1981 reviewed by Jeff and quoted No Quote
Dokken - Hell To Pay reviewed by Marty and quoted 80 / 100
Dokken - LIVE reviewed by Chris and quoted no quote
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