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CMC International

Dokken never was the trendiest band on the face of the earth. These days, their refusal to ever immerse themselves in make-up, blouses, and high hair has earned them a reputation as a somewhat more honest band than what many of their 1980s melodic power metal counterparts can lay claim to. Well, that may or may not be the case. At any rate, there was never any doubt concerning the musical brilliance of the band, what with the talents of guitarist George Lynch, bassist Jeff Pilson, and Don Dokken himself. Today, Lynch is long gone from the line-up, initially replaced by Winger’s Reb Beach, but today it is former Europe guitarist John Norum who shreds his way through the tracks. And so, with a solid Barry Sparks on bass and good old Mick Brown on drums, and with Dokken once again ready for the multi-platinum big kill, this is business as usual, right?

Wrong. Fully aware, presumably, that late-’80s, early-’90s hard rock isn’t the way to go about turning the charts around, Dokken have gone the AOR über-melodic route, with little thrown in the mix to potentially offend anyone from turning down the radio. Now, Dokken never was a hard-hitting band as such, always emphasizing melody over riff, grace over punch. But still, they had a certain energy and abandonment, something that’s completely lacking these days. And they had an attitude about them that shone through, also with regards to their melodies — these days, the melodies are mere shadows of their more famous counterparts, they are the results of formulaic songwriting, something that the Dokken of old would never have accepted.

The playing and the technical aspects of it, as you will know, are immaculate, precise and impressive. But there’s no soul in sight, there’s no personality coming through. Dokken used to be a great, melodic hard rock band, and they will be sorely missed.

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