Posts Tagged ‘Dokken’

It’s been a long time since I posted anything here at Heavy Metal Addiction…..a real long time! Sorry to all my loyal readers but I just haven’t had the time or the inspiration to write about anything Hard Rock or Heavy Metal but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been buying my fair share of music! Seeing that we are at the end of the year, I figured it was about time I posted something and why not be a full update of everything I’ve bought since August? Enjoy and please leave some comments…..

(WARNING — This is going to be a long post!)

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August update

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Rainbow – Difficult To Cure (1981/1999 remaster) – $8
Fozzy – Sin & Bones (2012) - $13
Loudness – Eye To Dawn (2012) – $13
In This Moment – Blood (2012) – $10
Jackyl – Best In Show (2012 Best Buy Deluxe Edition) – $10
MSG – The Michael Schenker Story Live (1997/2001 re-release) – $0
Loverboy – Rock N Roll Revival (2012) – $0
Baroness – Red Album (2007) – $0
House Of Lords – Sahara (1990) – $0
Marshall Law – Power Games (1992) – $0
Headcat – Walk The Walk…Talk The Talk (2011) – $0
Exciter – Unveiling The Wicked (1986) – $0
Enuff Z’nuff – Welcome To Blue Island (2003) – $0
Zyklon – Aeon (2003) – $0
Ozzy Osbourne – Black Rain (Tour Edition) (2007) - $0
707 – The Bridge (2004) – $0
707 – Anthology (2009) – $0
Starz – Brightest Starz (2000) – $0
Petra – Still Means War (2002) – $0
Rob Zombie – The Sinister Urge (2001) – $0
Sentenced – The Cold White Light (2002) – $0
Frameshift – An Absence Of Empathy (2005) – $0
KISS – Destroyer Resurrected (2012) – $13
Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run (1975) – $0
Helix – Breaking Loose (1979) – $26.50 used
Mass – Voices In The Night (1989) – $9 used
Tokyo Blade – Camp 334 E.P. (2012) – $3 (iTunes download)

Where to begin? Obviously August was a good month! One thing that happens evey August is that my birthday rolls around and I get a lot of gift cards to Newbury Comics, my favorite record store, so that will account for all the CDs with zeros for amounts. Let’s analyze these purchases…..

I bought the new albums by Fozzy, Loudness, In This Moment, and KISS on the day of release and on sale…..I had to have the new Destroyer Resurrected the moment the doors to Newbury Comics opened because my KISS collection isn’t complete without the latest new album! The Bruce Springsteen disc was a gift from my best friend’s son who loves Springsteen and is trying to turn me on to his music. I like myself some Bruce, mostly the stuff I hear on classic rock radio, but this is the album I would pick to start getting into The Boss if I were buying it myself. The Helix and Mass CDs were auctions I won on ebay from the same seller, both are original pressings and the Helix album is especially rare and it’s been on my radar for a long time. The last album listed is a digital only E.P. by NWOBHM legends Tokyo Blade that I got from iTunes. I have NEVER bought anything from iTunes because I believe in physical media but there are no plans to release this on any other format so I had to bite the bullet and spend the $3. On to the freebies…..

Birthday = gift cards. I decided to head up to a different Newbury Comics, this time Norwood, MA, to see if there were any bargains to be had. Now this is the BIG Newbury Comics so they have excellent selection when I make the 45 minute trip a few times a year and right off the bat I found a used copy of Baroness – Red Album (2007) for what would have been $10 ($14 for the regular priced one that was there. Among the other highlights from this shopping trip, the Michael Schenker Group live double disc rerelease that would have been $14, the new Loverboy album that would have been $13 on sale ($20 regular price!), and a tour edition copy of Ozzy’s Black Rain used that has all the bonus material for all the different versions of the original album for a mere $6 used price. Of course I padded the collection with used CDs that ranged in price from $2 to $8 but they were all free for me.

September update

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – Last of a Dyin’ Breed (2012 Deluxe Edition) – $10
Judas Priest – Screaming For Vengeance 30th Anniversary Edition (2012) – $14
The Darkness – Hot Cakes (2012) – $16
Cloudscape – New Era (2012) – $15
ZZ Top – La Futura (2012) – $0
Steve Harris – British Lion (2012) – $13
Bullet – Full Pull (2012) – $13
Dokken – Broken Bones (2012) – $0

As September hits we have back to school for the kids, house preperations for winter, the beginning of football season and fantasy football and starting to think of the holidays…..that means money is at a premium and CDs have to wait. I was able to pick up some new releases in my two trips to the record store in September and I caught a great sale at the end of the month – Buy 2 get 1 Free on all regular and sale priced CDs.

On my 1st trip of the month, I had to have the deluxe edition of the new Lynyrd Skynyrd CD to get the 4 bonus tracks and was lucky to grab the last sale priced copy they had for $10 which saved me $7. Take a listen to the Skynyrd records with Johnny Van Zant on vocals, they are all excellent and rival the classic 70s era of Skynyrd with his late brother Ronnie fronting the band. Of course the legend of Skynyrd back in the day overshadows everything newer but the quality is definitely there. The other major purchase was the 30th Anniversary Edition of the classic Screaming For Vengeance from Metal legends Judas Priest. I love all the bonuses on these special anniversary releases and it makes it worth it to re-buy the album, this time around the big deal was the included DVD of Priest’s performance at the US Festival in 1983 but the live tracks and the bonus studio track ‘Prisoner Of Your Eyes’ add to the value. You can’t beat $14 for a CD/DVD combo and I still saved $3 buying it on sale.

The 2nd trip of the month was towards the end but that’s where I caught the special sale and picked up a bunch of new releases I was waiting on. My strategy is to always group the CDs by price from high to low so when I get to the register I get some of the higher priced CDs free. I had been waiting on Hot Cakes from The Darkness and missed the sale price so I had to pay the full $16 regular price and the new Cloudscape was the same deal at $15 regular price but I put them together with the new ZZ Top to get that one free and saved $14 right off the bat! The $14 was the sale price for ZZ Top but regular price was $17 so I really saved $17 in the long run. My second grouping was the new Steve Harris solo album ($13 sale/$17 regular) + the new Bullet ($13 sale/$17 regular) with the new Dokken ($12 sale/$18 regular) for free and saved more money. You have to love those Frontiers Records albums that are $17+ regular price, I would have choked if I had to pay that much for the new Dokken! At least I got it on a double sale!

October update

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KISS – Monster (2012) – $12
KISS – Monster (2012) – $15 (Wal-Mart exclusive limted edition zine-pak)
Arch Enemy – Stigmata (1998) – $4 used
Allen-Lande – The Revenge (2007) – $8 used
Dream Evil – Evilized (2003) – $8 used
Rob Rock – Garden Of Chaos (2007) – $8 used
Motorhead – March Or Die (1992) – $4 used
Cloudscape – Crimson Skies (2006) – $4 used
Kotipelto – Serenity (2007) – $4 used
Dragonforce – The Power Within (2012) – $13
Motorhead – The World Is Ours Vol.2 (2 CD/DVD/Blu) (2012) - $18
Ten – Heresy And Creed (2012) – $12
Sister Sin – Now And Forever (2012) – $12
Night Ranger – 24 Strings & A Drummer (CD/DVD) (2012) - $10
The Sword – Apocryphon (2012 Deluxe Edition) – $12
Praying Mantis – Time Tells No Lies (1980/2011 remaster) – $13.50 (Ebay)

September was a slow CD buying month but October’s prospects improved and there were a few new releases that were must haves. Starting the month of right was the new KISS album…..Monster. I was out front banging on the door fo the record store so I could get this album as soon as the store opened, got it on sale for $12 and saved $4 off the regular price. Of course, KISS is my favorite band and they can’t do anything simple so I ran over to Wal-Mart right after to buy the limited edition zinepak exclusive to Wal-Mart.

My second CD hunt was at the Newbury Comics in Warwick, RI (about 20 mins from home) when the family and I were out for the day and they allowed me to go and search. Actually, they dropped me off and went to the Target down the road! Nothing is better when you walk into a record store and you start to find a lot of cheap CDs that you’ve been looking for…..obviously, I hit the store after someone dumped part of their collection because I’d never seen these CDs at this location before. Right away I found a copy of the latest Dragonforce record, The Power Within (2012), still on sale for $13 while the other two copies with it were regular price at $19. Then I started through the Metal section in alphabetical order and I found the Allen-Lande, Cloudscape and Dream Evil all used and immeadiately crossed them off my want list. I only had $60 in disposable CD income so I had to make wise purchases and I already had $33 worth of discs in my hand so I had to ignore some more higher priced used gems but I did make my way over to a sale table towards the front of the store. Score! Arch Enemy for $4 used, Motorhead for $4 used and Kotipelto for $4 used and Rob Rock for $8 used…..the Motorhead – March Or Die was a missing album in my collection and both the Kotipelto and Rob Rock CDs replaced very plain promotional CDs I received from the record label years earlier. I spent $53 on this trip so i was pretty psyched to come under budget just a little.

The last trip of the month also included an Ebay auction I actually won while I was in the record store! New releases everywhere during the last week of the month: the new Motorhead, Ten, Sister Sin, Night Ranger and The Sword were all high priority buys and the Ebay auction was the Praying Mantis reissue from Rock Candy Records. I saved $35 off the regular prices of the new releases by buying them on sale the day of release with the biggest savings coming from the Motorhead – The World Is Ours Vol.2 release at $12 off. I also saved $6 on the Ten CD and $8 on the Night Ranger (both imports from Frontiers Records), $3 on the new Sister Sin and another $6 on the limited edition of the new CD from The Sword.

November update

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Mob Rules – Cannibal Nation (2012) – $14
Aerosmith – Music From Another Dimension (Deluxe Edition) (2012) – $20
Kamelot – Silverthorn (Deluxe Edition) (2012) – $0
Geoff Tate – Kings & Thieves (2012) – $13
Twisted Sister – A Twisted Xmas Live In Las Vegas (2012) – $0
Butcher Babies – Butcher Babies E.P. (2012) – $5 (from Butcher Babies merchandise website)

Another slow month with the holidays looming…..I only made one trip to the record store but I made it count when they had a “Buy 2 get 1 Free” sale on all CDs. Of course they ring the CDs from highest to lowest so I paid for the limited edition version of the new Aerosmith record and the new One Direction limited edition new album (I have a daughter that loves that boy band!) for $20 each and I got the new Kamelot – Silverthorn limited edition for free. I forget what the regular price on the One Direction CD was but that wouldn’t count here but the regular on the Aerosmith was a crazy $29 and the new Kamelot was on sale for $18 but the regular price would have been $22. My second bundle at this sale was the new Mob Rules album for $14 and the new Geoff Tate solo album for $13, both on sale, and I got the new Twisted Sister live Xmas album from Las Vegas for free. The Twisted Sister CD was on sale for $12 with a regular price of $16 and both the Mob Rules and Geoff tate albums had a regular price of $18. The last purchase I made was the debut E.P. from the Butcher Babies for $5. I had been hearing a lot about the band on various podcasts and I finally decided to pick up the E.P. towards the end of the month.

December update

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King Kobra – Ready To Strike (1985) – $8
King Kobra – Thrill Of A Lifetime (1986) – $8
U.D.O. – Live In Sofia (2CD/DVD) (2012) – $14
Bloodbound – In The Name Of Metal (2012) – $14
Municipal Waste – Massive Aggressive (2009) - $10 used
Ring Of Fire – The Oracle (2001) - $10 used
Tankard – Beast Of Bourbon (2004) – $0 used
Avian – Ashes And Madness (2009) - $10 used
Overkill – Feel The Fire (1985) – $9 used
Doro – Classic Diamonds (2004) – $0 used
Iced Earth – The Crucible Of Man (Something Wicked Pt.2) (2008) – $8 used
Municipal Waste – Hazardous Mutations (2005) – $8 used
Tristania – Midwinter Tears (CD/DVD) (2005) – $0 used
Grave Digger – 25 To Live (2CD) (2005) – $7 used
Grave Digger – Rheingold (2003) – $7 used
Gwar – Live From Mt. Fuji (2005) – $0 used
Scorpions – Taken By Force (1977) – $6 used
Overlorde – Return Of The Snow Giant (2004) – $6 used
Tristania – Ashes (2005) – $0 used
Straight Line Stitch – When Skies Wash Ashore (2008) – $6 used
Fates Warning – Inside Out (1994) – $4 used
Tristania – World Of Glass (2001) – $0 used

With the Christmas holiday looming, there was no extra money for CD shopping during December but that’s OK because the end of the year is always the slowest time for new releases. I knew there was a shopping spree coming at the end of the year because of all the gift cards I get to Newbury Comics for holiday gifts. This year was no exception, I netted $135 in gift cards so I held out as long as I could after Christmas (3 days!) and I was able to catch a year end used CD sale, Buy 2 Used CDs and Get 1 Free! The strategy for gift cards and a great sale was to get as much music as possible and to get some of those used CDs that I’d been passing over in my travels and, seeing that everything was basically free and nothing coming out of pocket, I spent a long time combing every rack in the Warwick, RI Newbury Comics. I put up all the prices above, including the sale freebies, so you could get an idea of what I would have spent.

I couldn’t pass on the King Kobra CDs because both were recent reissues in album style cardboard sleeves and brand new sealed at awesome cheap prices…..turns out they should have been $17.99 instead of $7.99 but that’s OK with me! I also couldn’t pass up the latest U.D.O. 2CD/DVD live release, Live In Sofia (2012), or the latest release from Bloodbound…..both were still on sale and they weren’t at my normal closer location. Both of these were $18 regular price so I saved $4 on each theoretically. So those are the new CDs, on to the used!

I put everything up by price because that’s how the store separates them and denotes the free ones. I like the fact that they give you a free CD closest to the price of the ones you buy so the Tankard CD should have been $10 used but it was free because the Municipal Waste and Ring Of Fire CDs were the same price. Obviously, I picked up a lot of back catalog from Municipal Waste, Grave Digger and Tristania with the biggest bargains being the two Municipal Waste and two Grave Digger CDs because you never see these albums used and, if you do, they are $12+ used because of the demand for Municipal Waste and Grave Digger is usually imports. Of the $0 CDs, the Tankard shuld have been $10, Tristania and Doro were $8 each, Gwar and another Tristania were $6 each and the last Tristania was $4 used. The final total on this hunt was $135 all paid with gift cards so I paid nothing out of pocket and I saved an additional $42 on the free used CDs!

Final 2012 Totals

Total (year) = $1804

Average Price (per item) = $7.71

Total CDs (year) = 227

Total DVDs (year) = 5

Total Blu-Rays (year) = 1

Total iTunes Downloads (year) = 1

Just a quick analysis…..

Compared to 2011, I bought 85 more items (227 this year and 142 last year) and I spent $659 more than I did the previous year. My DVD total is low because a lot of bands/labels are packaging DVDs or Blu-Rays with live CDs now and I count those as CD packages. Also, 2012 was the first time I bought a Blu-Ray and paid for an iTunes download. I’m not sure what 2013 will hold for CD hunting but I’m hoping that I find more gems, fill a lot of holes in my collection, acquire more and spend less.

Let the hunt continue!

Dokken – Greatest Hits (2010, Cleopatra Records/Deadline Music)

  1. Just Got Lucky
  2. Breaking The Chains
  3. Into The Fire
  4. The Hunter
  5. In My Dreams
  6. It’s Not Love
  7. Alone Again
  8. Dream Warriors
  9. Unchain The Night
  10. Tooth And Nail
  11. Almost Over (new song)
  12. Magic Man (new Song)

Band Lineup:
Don Dokken – Vocals
‘Wild’ Mick Brown – Drums
Jon Levin – Guitars
Sean McNabb – Bass

Country: USA

Total Time = 53:39

Dokken 
Dokken MySpace page
Cleopatra Records

What we have here is a new Dokken greatest hits package with two brand new studio tracks. If that wasn’t enough to get you to run down to the record store (or iTunes), the ten classic songs, the greatest hits, are re-recorded by the current lineup! This is the trend lately for many bands getting offers for commercials, etc., you need you’re classic songs but you may not actually own the rights. If you use the original, your royalty rate goes down. If you re-record it, the royalty rate is better (KISS did it in 2008 and used songs for their Dr. Pepper campaign). Maybe it’s just to get a “fresh sound” of the current lineup doing the classic songs and putting the material on store shelves. If that’s the case then you can find plenty of other Hard Rock & Metal bands who have done it but…..are you tampering with a musical legacy? I’m always up for a reinterpretation of classic songs from a band because I’m curious as to what they come up with and, if I’ve seen the band in concert, if their current sound/lineup is featured prominently. I’ve been a Dokken fan since 1983 so I’ve been there straight from the beginning and I basically grew up with the songs so I know them by heart.

The ten re-recorded hits are basically performed staying true to the original version but with a bit more live feel to them, a more aggressive sound…..spending years on the road touring does that. Mick Brown is still a wildman on drums and teaming with Rock veteran Sean McNabb makes for a formidable rhythm section. Guitarist Jon Levin, who has been in the band since 2004 and recorded two studio albums, shines again! Not only does Levin faithfully reproduce George Lynch’s parts but he adds his own modern flair to each song. Most of the songs musically sound the same, or at least very close, but the defining component is Don Dokken’s voice…..or lack there of. Don Dokken is 30 years into his singing career and, after years of recording, touring and partying, the 57 year old singer doesn’t have the same set of pipes he once had. Then again, who does? A few years ago, I saw Dokken live with the Scorpions and you could just tell that Don’s voice was giving way. Then you could hear the more down-tuned lower register on the new albums rather than the higher melodic style from the ’80s and ’90s. I’m not saying Don does a bad job or that his singing is awful, it’s just that you can tell that he doesn’t have the golden voice of his youth anymore. Maybe that has something to do with the background vocals? One of the biggest pieces to the Dokken sound was former bassist Jeff Pilson’s superb backing vocals. Take a listen to the original songs and compare them to the new versions, the big lush harmonies are not there and I think Don’s lead vocal suffers from it.

The two new tracks are the major reason why I bought this CD. ‘Almost Over’ is a really good rocker written down to Don’s current vocal level but it reminds me of early Dokken circa 1983. The song sounds a bit dated but modernly aggressive with Levin’s Lynch-influenced axework, even Don’s vocal sounds very good. I could easily hear this song on either one of the last two Dokken studio records. The second new song, ‘Magic Man’, is faster and heavier and deals with the topics of drugs and addictions, maybe some self-introspection here? ‘Magic Man’ is another really good song that reminds me of early Dokken (probably due to Levin’s guitar work) but has that updated sound. Listen closely to Mick Brown’s drumming here because it’s basically a showcase on how to get it done after 30 years!

Bottom Line:
What can I say here? This is a re-recorded greatest hits with two new songs and I prefer the originals to these new versions. I like the idea, I bought into it but I would much rather have had a full new album with a couple re-recorded songs as bonus tracks. If I have the choice to hear the Dokken hits, then I am going to stick with the excellent VERY BEST OF DOKKEN (1999) compilation. To be honest, these aren’t the worst remakes I’ve ever heard but there is definitely a difference to my ears and I prefer the originals. The make or break here is the two new songs and I think they are both really good. In fact, if Dokken releases a new record with songs like this, they are going to have a great album on their hands. If I were Dokken, I’d keep going with the new material and leave the classics as they are. If you’re looking to spend the money, this is a CD for diehard Dokken fans…..as you can see, I’m a diehard. I would go for the 1999 best of CD for a great overview of the hits.

Favorite Songs:
‘Almost Over’, ‘Magic Man’

OK, so what was a month of purchases has taken me extra time to post because I’m lazy! So here is Part 2 of this installment of CD Scavenger Hunt, the first part will be the post before this one! All of these CDs come from my local record store, Newbury Comics, except for the last CD that came from Best Buy.

Newbury Comics

Ozzy Osbourne – Scream (2010) - $9: This was a definite purchase because I have been an Ozzy fan since the first album and this was either going to be a solid record or a complete train wreck! After the TV show and the last 2 studio albums, I’ve had no faith in Ozzy but my loyalty keeps me coming back over and over. I was going to pick this up at Best Buy because it was featured for $8 but I decided that my loyalty lies with the independent store so I paid the extra buck at Newbury Comics, regular price at both stores was $15 so I saved $6. I installed SCREAM as my July 2010 Album Of The Month so click the link above to read the review.

Halford – Live In Anaheim (2010) – $12: I don’t miss a new Halford release and this double disc live set was on my list since the Metal God announced it months ago. This live album is a 2 disc set that is billed as an “original soundtrack”, that’s because the live DVD of this show is coming in August. I was a little disappointed that the DVD set wasn’t released at the same time but I will take the 19 song live show plus the 4 live bonus tracks from Japan. Regular price was $20 so I saved $8 buying it the day of release!

Sister Sin – True Sound Of The Underground (2010) – $10: I’ve been keeping an eye on Sister Sin since 2008 when they released their first record SWITCHBLADE SERENADE but I never got around to buying that album. When it first came out, I wasn’t sure because they were a new band that I hadn’t heard about. By the time I checked them out, I missed the sale price and couldn’t find the record in the stores! I’ve heard a few songs and read a lot of good reviews on the band so I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. Regular price was $14, saved $4.

Primal Fear – Live In The USA/16.6 All Over The World (2010 Special Edition) – $0: As you all know, I’m a huge Power Metal fan and a huge Primal Fear fan so this new live CD & DVD set was a must have. I knew that this was going to be a high priced purchase because all the online stores listed this set between $25 – $40 plus shipping and the Newbury Comics website listed the $25 regular price. Of course there was always the option of buying each separately but what is the sense of that? It becomes MORE expensive! I got to the store and found a sale sticker for $20, I will save $5 any way I can, especially when it’s for a great package! Here’s the kicker, I had a $20 gift card from Father’s Day that my daughters gave me so this actually cost me nothing! Saved $20.

Vince Neil – Tattoos & Tequila (2010) – $10: When I heard Vince Neil was releasing a new solo album, I was all for it because I am a big fan of both EXPOSED (1993) & CARVED IN STONE (1995)…..I had no idea that this was mostly a covers album. I actually waited to buy this because I was on the fence about all the covers and there are 2 versions of the album: the 11 song U.S. release and the 12 song European that includes a cover of ZZ Top’s ‘Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers’. The price difference between the 2 versions was $5 and I wasn’t dropping the extra five bucks for another cover song so I settled for the U.S. pressing. Good thing I didn’t miss the sale price because I would have been pissed to pay the regular price of $15….saved $5.

Dokken – Greatest Hits (2010) – $13: Watch out if you go to pick up this latest greatest hits collection from Dokken because there’s more than meets the eye here. The first 10 songs are re-recorded classics featuring the current Dokken lineup of Don Dokken, Mick Brown, Jon Levin and Sean McNabb followed by two brand new songs – ‘Almost Over’ and ‘Magic Man’. There was no sticker on the front indicating the contents of the album and the Deadline/Cleopatra label has a habit of recycling a lot of previously released material. I wasn’t sure what I had in my hands so I called home and had my daughter look it up on the Net (I don’t have a smartphone!). Once I knew that these were different versions with 2 new songs, I snatched it up. I’ve been a Dokken fan since BREAKING THE CHAINS (1983) so I always support the band. Honestly, there’s not much difference between this album and Vince Neil’s because Dokken is essentially covering themselves but at least it’s their own material. Saved $3.

Sabaton – Coat Of Arms (2010) – $10: When I saw that Sabaton was releasing a new album, I checked my collection to see if I owned any of the band’s albums. It turns out that I own a couple of them so I gave them a quick listen and decided that I would pick up COAT OF ARMS the day it came out at the sale price. It’s Power Metal and I’m a fan of the genre so there had to be something worth checking out on this album. Regular price was $16 so I saved $6 and there were two bonus instrumentals included so it’s a 12 song disc instead of 10 songs. This was a reach for me, and I still haven’t listened to it, so I have my fingers crossed.

Rhapsody Of Fire – The Frozen Tears Of Angels (2010) – $10: Unlike Sabaton, I knew what I was buying when I picked up the new Rhapsody Of Fire. I have been a fan since the Power Metal resurgence in 1997 when the band was known simply as Rhapsody and they released LEGENDARY TALES. I have almost every Rhapsody album (I’m missing 2006′s TRIUMPH OR AGONY) so I figured I’d grab this at the sale price (saved $6) and I was pleasantly surprised to see the 2 bonus tracks from the European digipak release included on the U.S. pressing. By the way, I hate the new name! I know that there was some legal issues with another band named Rhapsody but the “Of Fire” part really doesn’t fit.

Witchery – Witchkrieg (2010) – $10: Here’s another album that I was on the fence about picking up even though I own a few Witchery albums. Maybe it was the switch in vocalists, maybe it was that it’s been four years since DON’T FEAR THE REAPER (2006) but I was going to pass on it. I got to the register with this set of purchases and I asked my Metal friend at the counter if he had heard it. We got to talking, he recommended it, he hasn’t steered me wrong before so I went back and grabbed a copy. Saved $6.

Y&T – Facemelter (2010) – $18: I had meaning to buy the new Y&T for a few weeks but the import prices with shipping were out of control and my local Newbury Comics hadn’t stocked it yet. I bought this on my last vacation 4th of July week at the Newbury Comics in Norwood, MA (the chain’s superstore). My wife, the kids and I got in the car for a drive and we happened to pass by the superstore (I planned it that way!) so we stopped on the way back. I had to pay full price at the store but that was still better than the online prices that were around $20 – $25 plus shipping. I’ve been looking forward to this album because I’ve been a Y&T fan since I heard ‘Don’t Stop Runnin’ on the radio back in 1984.

Anthrax – Fistful Of Metal (1984) – $10 used: Nothing pisses me off more than not being able to find a CD for years. I have had a cassette of this album for two decades and I have never been able to replace it! I’ve had the chance a few times but that was close to 10 years ago just before my favorite mom & pop record store closed it’s doors. I have had FISTFUL OF METAL on my short list of wanted CDs and neither Ebay or record stores have been able to turn up a copy. I once found a copy at a pawn shop for $5 but it had the biggest scratch on the CD so I passed, even that CD was found 5 years ago! This is the original Megaforce CD pressing in perfect condition so I didn’t mind spending a couple extra bucks for a used CD. I estimate that this would be a regular price of $15 so I assume I saved $5. I bought this with the new Y&T in Norwood, MA.

Best Buy

Bret Michaels – Custom Built (2010) – $8: I have no idea why I bought this because, even though I like Poison, Bret’s solo career has been a waste of money. Bret’s last album, ROCK MY WORLD (2008), was one of my Worst Albums of 2008 and I vowed not to get sucked in again by an album advertised as a new album but it’s really recycled material from previous records. Maybe it was the Best Buy exclusive sale price? Maybe it was like with the new Ozzy record? I was curious to hear if there is anything good or if it’s a train wreck. Things aren’t looking good when Miley Cyrus (yes, Hannah Montana!) is featured on the thrid track on the record. I’ll review this eventually but I’m not in any hurry…..at least I saved $7 because this was going to be $15 regular price after the initial promotion.

Total = $120

Total (year) = $933

Average price (per item) = $10.03

Total CDs (year) = 85

Total DVDs (year) = 2

Total Box Sets (year) = 5

Total LPs (year) = 1

Sadly all good things must come to and end…..and so must my vacation. It’s been a great week off from work: I spent time with the family, listened to a lot of music and did a lot of things I can’t do because work gets in the way…..like sleep! I have to go back to work today at 4pm so I decided to relax in the music room and shuffle the iPod one last time to see what comes out…..

  1. Queen – ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’ (1986)
  2. Starz – ‘Violation’ (1977)
  3. Dokken – ‘The Hunter’ (1985)
  4. Autograph – ‘Send Her To Me’ (1984)
  5. Journey – ‘Send Her My Love’ (1983)
  6. Judas Priest – ‘Hard As Iron’ (1988)
  7. Accept – ‘Do It’ (1980)
  8. Judas Priest – ‘Solar Angels’ (1981)
  9. Quiet Riot – ‘Twilight Hotel’ (1986)
  10. Sammy Hagar – ‘Mas Tequila’ (1999)
  11. .38 Special – ‘Wild Eyed Southern Boys’ (1981)
  12. KISS – ‘Room Service’ (1975)
  13. Ozzy Osbourne – ‘No Bone Movies’ (1980)
  14. Manowar – ‘Fighting The World’ (1987)
  15. KISS - ‘Exciter’ (1983)
  16. Tim Owens – ‘Believe’ (2009)
  17. ZZ Top – ‘T.V. Dinners’ (1983)
  18. Motley Crue – ‘Hollywood Ending’ (2000)
  19. U.D.O. – ‘Infected’ (2009)
  20. Aerosmith – ‘Last Child’ (1977)

Bonus Track: UFO – ‘Diesel In the Dust’ (1983)

    2008 was another great year for new Hard Rock and Heavy Metal albums and I was lucky to have heard a great many of them. There were hundreds of new albums released by hundreds of bands over a wide range of Metal genres, it was very hard to keep up especially when I’m spending my hard-earned cash! Unfortunately, I can’t buy every new album so there are more than a few that I have missed. I buy a lot of music but the failing economy took it’s toll on my music budget. I was very lucky to have caught the attention of many labels, PR firms, and bands sending in their CDs for review (to all of them I would like to extend a very grateful THANK YOU), without these promotions I would have never heard some great releases.

    The only criteria I followed for my Top 30 was that the album had to be a studio album, not a live record, best of, or covers collection. The ranking of the Top 30 is based solely on my enjoyment of the album and not some scientific formula. Bottom line: I had to like it! There were so many releases this year that I doubled the list this year so I will be splitting it into two posts. Be sure to check out the links to the album reviews. So here it is, my Top 30 Albums of 2008 (#16 – #30):

    #16

    motorhead-motorizerMotörhead - Motörizer

    The only thing that Motörhead does year in and year out is make really good Heavy Metal albums and this year is no exception. MOTÖRIZER isn’t groundbreaking, it sounds just like all the other Motörhead records before it, but it’s a solid consistent effort from a band that is legendary but never gets the success it deserves. Any year with a new Motörhead album in it is a good one.

    #17

    acdc-black-iceAC/DC – Black Ice

    It only took 8 years but AC/DC finally came roaring back with a really strong album in BLACK ICE. It’s more Blues than in your face Hard Rock but the typical AC/DC punch is still there. Brian Johnson sounds like he turned back the hands of time and the team of Angus & Malcolm Young on guitars still has the fire that burned in the ’70s & ’80s. A great comeback!

    #18

    Gypsy Pistoleros - Para Siempre (2008)Gypsy Pistoleros – Para Siempre

    Technically, PARA SIEMPRE is a reissue of the Gypsy Pistoleros’ debut, WILD, BEAUTIFUL, DAMNED (2007), remastered with two additional songs added in. I wasn’t sold on taking traditional music from Spain and mixing it into a Hard Rock blender but the Pistoleros do a great job of channelling the Crue, GNR, and Hanoi Rocks mixed with flamenco and Spanish music. I’m half Colombian so I dig the Spanish influences and I really like the mix of English & Spanish (the band calls it “Spanglish”) to give it an added dimension.

    #19

    jorn-lonely-are-the-brave-2008Jorn – Lonely Are The Brave

    Jorn Lande continues to make some of the best Metal records of the last decade and LONELY ARE THE BRAVE is no exception. Jorn is a monster vocally and the surrounding cast is as solid as they come. Unfortunately, I bought this very late in the year so I haven’t had much time to enjoy it.

    #20

    Brainstorm - Downburst (2008)Brainstorm – Downburst

    Another great album from one of the most underrated bands in Heavy Metal. Brainstorm plays great epic Power Metal but DOWNBURST shows a band that is willing to evolve it’s sound and becoming more dynamic. It’s not a groundbreaking album but the band follows the path laid down by Primal Fear and Kamelot.

    #21

    dokken-lightning-strikes-again-2008Dokken – Lightning Strikes Again

    Dokken’s best album since 1999′s ERASE THE SLATE, the band continues to play melodic Hard Rock with a great musicianship and songwriting. Jon Levin adds some George Lynch style playing back into the overall Dokken sound and the rhythm section of Barry Sparks and Mick Brown is as solid as ever. Don Dokken’s vocals are a little underwhelming because he doesn’t hit the highs he used to and there really isn’t a solid backing track. Still a very good album.

    #22

    nightranger-holeinthesun-usa coverNight Ranger – Hole In The Sun

    HOLE IN THE SUN is a more modern sounding Night Ranger but there is still the trademark melodic sound that made them a big success back in their ’80s heyday. Best performance on the album goes to drummer/singer Kelly Keagy because his vocals were excellent. This album didn’t really get me at first but it grew on me as I played it more.

    #23

    temujin-1000-tears-2008Temujin – 1000 Tears

    I’m a big fan of female-fronted Gothic/Ambient Metal and Temujin debuts with an album that has the guitars leading the way and the vocals keeping the listener entranced. Temujin vocalist Kelly has a beautiful voice that reminds me of The Gathering’s Anneke Van Giersbergen in that her performance is powerful without going over the top. A solid debut.

    #24

    tyr-landTýr – Land

    LAND was my first experience listening to Týr and I was pleasantly surprised. Sometimes the terms Pagan Metal or Viking Metal throws fans off but what really is happening is Metal mixed with Nordic influences. Týr blends traditional folk to their Metal and uses their native language, as well as choir style backing vocals, to enhance their sound. This album got me into a whole new genre of Metal.

    #25

    Pharaoh - Be Gone (2008)Pharaoh – Be Gone

    Pharaoh creates gool old traditional U.S. Metal based on good guitars, a solid rhythm section and good vocals. The band puts the power forward but you get the general idea after the first few songs. The album gets better as it continues and the band stretches out a little.

    #26

    the-sword-gods-of-the-earth (2008)The Sword – Gods Of The Earth

    I didn’t get into The Sword’s first album but, when I put on this new album, I immeadiately heard what I was missing. GODS OF THE EARTH has an early Thrash and NWOBHM element added to a sludgy Doom Metal groove. It’s a very heavy record that’s grown on me all year long.

    #27

    Griffen - Linked In Eternity (2008)Griffen – Linked In Eternity

    I found out about Griffen because of my obsession with ’80s Swedish metallers Torch: two current members of Torch are in Griffen. Technically, LINKED IN ETERNITY is a promo demo E.P. but it’s done so well I’m throwing it in the countdown. The band plays a really good blend of Traditional Metal and melodic Hard Rock so I have no idea how these guys aren’t signed to a label.

    #28

    uli-jon-roth-under-a-dark-skyUli Jon Roth – Under A Dark Sky

    Anytime guitar maestro Uli Jon Roth releases a new album it’s a good year! How can you deny the talent of a man that was so unsatisfied with regular guitars that he went out and invented one (the Sky Guitar) that suited his ability? I gues you could call this a true Rock opera with all the classical elements and orchestral movements but the underlying focus is Roth’s playing.

    #29

    Black Tide - Light From Above (2008)Black Tide – Light From Above

    A strong debut from a band whose members are only a couple years removed from high school. I was surprised with all the old school Metal influences in the music from such a young band. What the band lacks in experience they more than make up for in attitude and energy. A solid debut.

    #30

    metallica-death-magneticMetallica – Death Magnetic

    See what happens when a band goes back and listens to their previous records, they make a Heavy Metal album! This is the album that Metallica needed to make to prove that they can still play Metal. Some of the songs are a little long but that’s a small complaint, the songs are really good…..better than I expected. Hopefully Metallica continues in this direction.

    ——————————————————————————————–

    Please check out the Top 30 Albums of 2008 (#1-#15) for the other half of my Top 30 list.

    ——————————————————————————————–

    In case my list wasn’t enough, or you simply don’t agree, some other great Music blogs have listed their Top Albums of 2008:

    All Metal Resource
    Bring Back Glam
    Hair Metal Mansion

    Hard Rock Hideout
    Heavy Metal Time Machine

    Imagine Echoes
    Layla’s Classic Rock
    Metal Excess

    The Metal Minute
    The Ripple Effect
    Rock And Roll and Meandering Nonsense

    Rock Of Ages

    2008 was another banner year for new albums, bands from all different genres of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal released good albums this year and I was on the frontlines buying them up as they came out. There were definitely some bad ones too and I picked up a few of them over the course of the year also. Some releases were just plain bad, some were huge disappointments, some I just couldn’t stand…..so here is my list of The 5 Worst Albums of 2008:

    #1

    engelabsolutedesignEngel – Absolute Design

    An easy choice for 2008′s worst album. This was supposed to be a combination of Industrial and Melodic Death Metal and all that came out of it was a Nu-Metal sound. Once I heard the trendy down-tuned guitars, the synth and the samples I knew I wouldn’t like it. Think Ozzfest bands like Linkin Park, Papa Roach & Korn minus the raps…..plain awful!

    #2

    bretmichaelsrockmyworldBret Michaels – Rock My World

    This is not a “real” new album. Of the 12 tracks, only three were brand new songs, the rest came from previous Bret solo records. So why does it get inclusion here if it’s not a “real” album? That’s how it was advertised to the fans: a brand new album of new material! I’ll go officially on record saying that I like Poison, and I like Bret Michaels as a frontman, but to fleece the fans with false advertising can’t be forgiven. At least Gene Simmons tells us that he’s fleecing us! Musically, I can only take so much sad sack ‘Something To Believe In’ and ‘Unskinny Bop’ rehashing. If Bret went straight up Country he would be more credible.

    #3

    Don Dokken - Solitary (2008)Don Dokken – Solitary

    The last time Don Dokken released a solo album we got the very good UP FROM THE ASHES (1990). On the eve of a new album by his main band, Dokken, Don decided to release this new solo record at his live solo shows and through his personal website. When you see the name Don Dokken on a CD, you know to expect melodic Hard Rock, this time around a nine song acoustic album that follows the “lost love” and “personal pain” themes. In all honesty, it’s a decent acoustic album. I placed it here for the sheer disappointment with the entire project, definitely not Don Dokken’s best work.

    #4

    Asia - Phoenix (2008)Asia – Phoenix

    The Asia of the early ’80s had big hits with ‘Heat Of The Moment’, ‘Don’t Cry’ and ‘Only Time Will Tell’ because of their uptempo melodic hooks that made each song infectious. The opening track ‘Never Enough’ follows the same path but the band must have thought that was enough because every other song is either a ballad, mid-tempo, or a lengthy progressive number. The musicianship is great but there is no guitar…..well, it’s there somewhere. What could have been a huge Melodic Rock record ended up being a bore.

    #5

    queen_the_cosmos_rocks_album_coverQueen + Paul Rodgers – The Cosmos Rocks 

    This is the first Queen album WITHOUT Freddie Mercury (R.I.P.). That should say it all. I understand that musicians need to play live and stay creative but sometimes releasing an album of new material isn’t the way to go. I saw the Queen + Paul Rodgers tour, it was phenomenal! Rodgers did his best to interpret and celebrate the Queen catalog and it worked…..live. The music on THE COSMOS ROCKS sounds forced, as if Roger Taylor and Brian May tried too hard to create the Queen sound. Or maybe they don’t know any better! An album that shouldn’t have been released, leave the Queen legacy alone. The only winner here was John Deacon.

    It’s hard to believe that the last CD Scavenger Hunt was way back at the end of April but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been out on CD safaris! I have been visiting the local shops but money has been tight (for everyone I think!) so I have only been picking up the major releases and a couple of used ones along the way.

    I re-read all the Scavenger Hunts from this year over the weekend and I found two glaring omissions:

    Benedictum – Seasons Of Tragedy (2008) – $13: I picked this up back in March when it received it’s U.S. release. The album was released everywhere else in late January ’08 but I wasn’t paying import prices for a Rainbow cover that’s the bonus on the European release. I became a fan of the band when I heard UNCREATION (2006) so I agonized over a month & a half wait, LOL!

    Anvil – This Is Thirteen (2007) – $20: I picked this up back in March as well thru CD Inzane. The band are selling the album themselves thru their website but at a price of $25 (includes S&H), I found CD Inzane to have the best price with shipping and I was impressed by the quick delivery. My version is the limited edition version that the band is selling as they currently are without a label.

    So now we’ve caught up on the really late CDs, lets move on to the rest that I’ve bought since the end of April…..

    Sledgehammer Ledge – s/t (1992) – $20: I found out about Sledgehammer Ledge about a year ago when I found this album on CD Baby. I liked the samples so I added it to my wishlist and that was that. A couple of months ago, I decided to update my wishlist at CD Baby and I saw that this CD was out of print so I started checking Ebay. Turns out that this disc was going for $20-$30 at auction so I waited to see if CD Baby would restock. I finally got fed up and used BUY IT NOW to buy the album for $15 plus the $5 for shipping.

    Dokken – Lightning Strikes Again (2008) – $13: Another case of the European edition being available before the U.S. release…..I ordered the Euro edition from an online shop I usually frequent but there was a stocking problem so i cancelled my order. With shipping, the total cost was going to be $20 but there was a bonus track called ‘Sunset Superstar’. I decided to wait the extra month and saved the seven dollars but it would have been nice to have had the Euro edition right away.

    Brother Firetribe – Heart Full Of Fire (2008) – $10: I’ve been wanting to check out Brother Firetribe since 2006 when I read many positive reviews on their album FALSE METAL. I’ve never heard much fron the band except for a few samples and some songs at their MySpace page but I couldn’t pass up the sale price and I grabbed my copy when I picked up the new Dokken.

    White Lion – Return Of The Pride (2008) – $13: I’m a sucker for ’80s Hard Rock bands that were big on MTV and White Lion is no exception. My high school years were filled with songs like ‘When the Children Cry’ and ‘Wait’ so I have a soft spot when it comes to White Lion. I waited to buy this album because I read mixed reviews but I found this a few weeks after it’s initial release with a sale sticker attached! It rang up $17 but the sale sticker got me $4 off! I still haven’t listened to it…..

    Royal Hunt – Paradox II: Collision Course (2008) – $10: Another album that has been out in Europe and Japan since late 2007/early 2008 and didn’t get a U.S. release until the end of May! I wish these albums could get released in all the territories around the same time! I couldn’t pass up the sale price and I’ve been a Royal Hunt fan since 1997 so I’m very interested in how new frontman Mark Boals (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen) sounds.

    Journey – Revelation (2008) – $11.88: If you’ve read the site before then you know I like me some good ol’ American AOR whether it’s Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Sammy Hagar, or Journey. I’ve always liked Journey since I was a kid and I have very vivid memories of the radio and TV ads for the Providence tour stop on the FRONTIERS tour with the big emphasis on the band’s name (JOURNEY!!!) and a montage of their hits. Anyway, the new album is a 3 disc set available exclusively thru Wal-Mart with the debut of new singer Arnel Pineda on the new album, a CD of re-recorded hits with Arnel, and a live DVD from Las Vegas 2008. That’s major value for such a low price!

     

     

     

     

    Dokken – Lightning Strikes Again (2008, Rhino)

    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

    Band Lineup:
    Don Dokken – Lead Vocals
    Mick Brown – Drums & Backing Vocals
    Jon Levin – Guitars
    Barry Sparks – Bass

    Produced by: Don Dokken & Tim David Kelly

    Total Time = 51:18

    Dokken official website
    Dokken MySpace page
    Rhino Records

    I’ve been a Dokken fan since BREAKING THE CHAINS (1983) debuted and I have eagerly anticipated every Dokken album ever since. When LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN was announced back in the Fall of 2007, I was a little apprehensive because I didn’t enjoy the last two studio albums: LONG WAY HOME (2002) and HELL TO PAY (2004). As most bands do nowadays, a press release for LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN stated that the new album would be “a throwback to the classic Dokken sound”. When I read something like that, I get a bit skeptical, usually its a ruse to keep fan interest, but I had my hopes because I hadn’t really enjoyed a Dokken album since ’99′s ERASE THE SLATE. That album WAS a return to the classic Dokken sound.

    The good news is that it seems like the merry-go-round of revolving band members has stopped. Former Warlock guitarist Jon Levin is back for his second album and he has solidified his position in the band with his excellent playing. Bassist Barry Sparks is back for album #3, his track record is long and successful including stints with Yngwie Malmsteen, UFO, and Ted Nugent. Add founding members ‘Wild’ Mick Brown and, of course, Don Dokken and the band seems to have solid footing in the crowded Heavy Metal world.

    Opening song ‘Standing On The Outside’ starts the album off to a rocking start with an ’80s throwback riff that sounds like a piece from the Dokken classic ‘It’s Not Love’. I was instantly hooked by the ’80s sounding guitar and melodic hook to the chorus but I did notice that Don takes a low key approach to the vocal. He never really goes too high and has more of a raspy tone that keeps the song a little modern sounding. More classic sounding Dokken arrives with ‘Give Me A Reason’, another upbeat song with solid Levin guitar lines and solo. Jon Levin almost sounds a bit like former Dokken guitar hero George Lynch at times, that’s a good thing because it shows that the songs are based around good guitar playing. ‘Heart To Stone’ is the third uptempo guitar based song in a row and it’s probably no coincidence that it’s also the third Dokken/Levin collaboration as well, a writing team that has blossomed into a winner. ‘Heart To Stone’ has another melodic Hard Rock sound with another catchy chorus, Don’s vocal sounds like the clock turned back more than a few years and you can hear some really good rolling fills by the ‘Wild’ man behind the kit.

    ‘Disease’ is a moody modern sounding song heavy on the rhythm section and distorted guitar (until the solo). There’s some effects put on Don’s vocal during the song and it gives an unusual result. Don Dokken has always been known for his melodic clean vocal lines so the vocal enhancements seem a little out of place. Mick Brown co-wrote the song with Don so that might be the reason for the heavy drum/bass sound. Five songs in and we finally get a ballad with ‘How I Miss Your Smile’. I’m a little surprised that it didn’t show up sooner in the running order but Dokken has put it’s heavier foot forward so far. Don has always been able to write a solid melodic ballad (‘Alone Again’, ‘Slippin’ Away’) and this is one of the better ones. A nice acoustic guitar intro, clean vocals, and a subdued electric guitar…..one of my favorites of the album. The first song released to Dokken’s MySpace page for a preview was ‘Oasis’, a mid-tempo subdued song that reminds me of the SHADOWLIFE-era of the band, maybe even the LONG WAY HOME record. The guitar keeps it a little heavy and Levin has a nice solo but I like the acoustic guitar underneath everything, it gives it a little more depth.

    Things pick up again with ‘Point Of No Return’ giving off that old school “rockin’ with Dokken” feel but ballad #2 ‘I Remember’ slows everything down again. ‘I Remember’ is pretty good although a little dated sounding like the Scorpions at times, especially on the guitar. Even though it’s similar to things I’ve heard before, I like it. ‘Judgement Day’ picks up where ‘Point Of No Return’ left off but I’m left a little cold by this track, the vocals seem strained and even though it’s a faster song, I feel like I’ve heard it all before. ‘It Means’ is more mid-tempo modern guitar rock but with a catchy chorus, I think the song would benefit from bigger sounding backing vocals. ‘Release Me’ is another mid-tempo song that sounds a bit like ‘Oasis’ in the guitar tone and vocal but I do like that thumping bassline Sparks lays down. If the monotone stylings of the last few songs had you bored then the opening riff of ‘This Fire’ gets things back into gear. Definitely an faster rocker but the vocal gives it a subdued, almost moody, feel but the chorus makes things better when the background vocals kick in. Levin shows off his fast fingers come solo time and proves he was a good pick to handle the guitar slot for years to come. There’s a few spoken word lines at the end of the song by Don about thin crust pizza, not sure what this has to do with the music but I figure it’s got to be some inside joke with the band.

    Bottom Line:
    This is the best Dokken album in almost 10 years, very close to the excellent ERASE THE SLATE (1999). The centerpiece is Jon Levin, he is a great guitar player and can imitate some of George Lynch’s guitar parts AND bring his own style to the table. There are some really cool riffs and solos all over this album but one of the unsung qualities is the underlying acoustic guitar Levin plays on some of the songs. The rhythm section is tight, Sparks and Brown keep everything moving along nicely with serious precision. If there is any complaints it’s with the vocals because it seems like Don Dokken stays in that mid-range a little too much rather than straight out going for it with a higher delivery. Granted, Don’s a little older and his voice has changed a bit since the early days when he was in his 20s, I think maybe he could’ve benefited from bigger background vocals. That’s where a guy like former bassist Jeff Pilson came in for years but he’s out and the more than capable Barry Sparks is in. What Don does do vocally is still pretty good and melodic just not in the higher register. Overall, I think the album is very good. If I had to slot it in the post-George Lynch era (from 1998-present), I would put this right behind ERASE THE SLATE and just ahead of HELL TO PAY.

    Favorite songs:
    I liked a lot of the faster rockers like ‘Standing On The Outside’, ‘This Fire’, ‘Point Of No Return’, and ‘Give Me A Reason’. A lot of these uptempo numbers have that old school Dokken sound and it’s definitely a highpoint. The two ballads are very good as well. I like ‘How I Miss Your Smile’ a little more than ‘I Remember’ because it seems a little more original and Dokken like whereas ‘I Remember’ sounds like a Scorpions ballad from any album after 1990′s CRAZY WORLD. I like it though, probably the best Scorpions ballad that they never made!

    Notes: My version of the album is the U.S. release that came out a couple of weeks after the European and Japanese versions. The European version has a bonus track called ‘Sunset Superstar’ and the Japanese version has a bonus track called ‘Leave Me Alone’. LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN is also the highest charting debut (#133) for a Dokken record on the Billboard Top 200 in over 13 years and it charted higher than BREAKING THE CHAINS did (#138) in 1983. Shows that there’s still an audience out there and it’s not just me buying these types of records.

     

     

     

    Don Dokken – Solitary (2008, Dokken Enterprises, Inc.)

    1. In The Meadow
    2. I’ll Never Forget
    3. Where The Grass Is Green
    4. Ship Of Fools
    5. You Are Everything
    6. Venice
    7. Sarah
    8. The Tragedy
    9. Someday

    Musicians:
    Don Dokken – Vocals
    Guitars: Michael Thompson, Steve Ornest, Wyn Davis
    Bass: Tony Franklin, Michael Thompson, Wyn Davis
    Drums: Frank Lentz, Gary Ferguson, Vinnie Colaiuta
    Piano: John Schreiner, John Keane
    Synth: John Schreiner, John Keane, Wyn Davis
    Background Vocals: Kelly Keeling (on ‘Where The Grass Is Green’)

    Produced by: Don Dokken & Wyn Davis

    Total Time = 40:31

    Don Dokken official website
    Don Dokken MySpace page
    Dokken official website
    Dokken MySpace page

    Don Dokken has been in the business for a long time, mostly fronting the Hard Rock band that bears his last name…..Dokken. After four gold and platinum albums with the band, Dokken broke up and Don decided to release his first solo record UP FROM THE ASHES (1990). The music on UP FROM THE ASHES was very similar to the Dokken Hard Rock sound and is considered by many fans to be the “lost” Dokken record. A few years later, the band would reunite and record two albums, DYSFUNCTIONAL (1995) & SHADOWLIFE (1997).  The SHADOWLIFE album was a low-key alternative sound and was mostly written by Don and is widely considered to be material that was to be used on a new solo album by Don.

    Don Dokken has had a nice run with his main band in the last decade, Dokken has released 3 studio albums and is on the eve of their newest record, LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN, being released within a month. So why is Don releasing his second solo album now? Once you hear it, you’ll understand why.

    SOLITARY is a very low-key, un-Dokken like album. It’s an acoustic album of mostly ballads that Don has written aside from his work on the latest Dokken album. The songs are personal and introspective as Don tells his tales of love, loss, peace and triumph without the aid of pounding drums and blazing guitars. The album as a whole has a mellow vibe with influences from the quieter moments of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Eagles, and a little of The Doors. The voice is unmistakable but the vocals are low-key, slow and mid-paced, very calm. You can hear the piano, acoustic guitars, and percussion all blend into one and it all fits nicely. Very calm, very soothing and melodic, almost New Age sometimes. It also reminds me of the quieter songs from Great White as they usually have a bare bones acoustic thing going on with every album. I could go though all of the songs and describe them but I would be saying the same thing for each one: “acoustic, Don sings, mellow vibe, personal story”. Not that the songs are bad or anything, they all just have the same direction and vibe that is different from the traditional Dokken sound.

    Bottom Line:
    This is a record that Don Dokken made for Don Dokken not for fans of the band Dokken. If you want to hear the signature Hard Rock sound that made Dokken famous, then you want to check out LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN in about a month. If you want to hear something different, something mellow, then this is something to check out. It’s cool to hear a guy like Don Dokken branch out and do something different outside his main band. It’s a good acoustic record that’s outside his normal output. If you’re looking for Hard Rock or Heavy Metal, it’s not here. I knew that this CD was going to be different so my suggestion to anyone looking to pick this up is to know this is not the usual Dokken. Favorite songs here: ‘Ship Of Fools’, ‘You Are Everything’, ‘Venice’.

    (Don Dokken is selling copies of SOLITARY at all of his acoustic solo shows and through his website. It’s NOT available through the Dokken website and I’m not sure if it will be sold at the merchandise stands when the band hits the road this summer.)

     

    I’ve been concentrating on a few albums I’d like to do reviews on soon but I had to put on some Motley Crue to get in the mood for the press conference.

    Motley Crue – Too Fast For Love (1982): Had to gear up for the big Motley Crue press conference with my favorite Crue record.

    Wicked Stick – Ill Inspired (2007): Getting this ready for review.

    Lana Lane – Red Planet Boulevard (2007): I never get sick of Lana Lane albums and this one is excellent so far. Another up for review this week.

    Don Dokken – Solitary (2008): I’m trying to get through this one but it’s hard to take in. It needs many focused listens because it’s a departure from the typical Dokken sound. Review up this week.

    Dokken – Shadowlife (1997): This album and SOLITARY, Don’s new solo disc, are very similar. I’m trying to compare both because I liked parts of SHADOWLIFE.

    StarofAsh – The Thread (2008): Heidi Solberg Tveitanm, aka Ihriel from Peccatum, has released another ambient Metal solo record full of orchestration and experimentation. Reminds me of The Gathering – Nighttime Birds (1999) with no vocals.

    Pharoah – Be Gone (2008): I’m enjoying this one a lot and I should have this review up end of next week in time for the U.S. release.

    Zero Hour – Dark Deceiver (2008): Gave this one a quick spin this morning so it’s too early to comment. Album release date is 4/29/08.

     

    CDs, CDs, CDs…..I’m going to have to post new pictures of my collection because there are piles everywhere. I’m listening to lots of promos from labels and bands in a major push to catch up. Problem is I keep buying CDs! Here’s what’s spinning on the stereo lately…..

    Anvil – This Is Thirteen (2007): I always liked Anvil. They may be looked at as Spinal Tap now but they have been a consistent Metal band for over two decades. This is the limited edition pressed by the band themselves as they are without a label at the moment. Only 1000 were pressed.

    Benedictum – Uncreation (2006): I wanted to check this band out for a couple of years and I grab this record about two weeks before they released their new album, SEASONS OF TRAGEDY. Solid Metal!

    Benedictum – Seasons Of Tragedy (2008): Only gave it the initial spin but I like it. I’ll be playing this a lot this week.

    Helloween – Gambling With The Devil (2007): I had to put this down for a while because I was getting Weenie overload! It made the Top 15 Albums of 2007 (#12) but I haven’t reviewed it yet.

    Don Dokken – Solitary (2008): Another CD I bought and only gave one spin. I want to get a review out on this in the next week or so.

    Dokken – The Very Best Of (1999): I always liked me some Dokken and I’ve been a fan since the beginning. This is the best Dokken compilation out there, and there are many! Favorite track has to be ‘Burning Like A Flame’ right now.

    Pharoah – Be Gone (2008): Promo of the upcoming 3rd album. It’s out in Europe at the end of the month on Cruz Del Sur.

    W.A.S.P – Dominator (2007): Just popped the shrinkwrap on my Russian pressing (Argh!) of the latest W.A.S.P. record. I haven’t actually spun this one but it’s in the queue. I hope it’s better than the NEON GOD albums…..

    Bullet – No Mercy (1983/1997 reissue): Another one I have in the queue but I’ve been after it for a long time. This is the High Vaultage reissue with two bonus demos added to the album.

    The Sword – Gods Of The Earth (2008): Just picked this up this past Tuesday and I am listening to it right now!

    Michael Schenker – Thank You (1993): Michael Schenker is one of my all-time favorite guitarists and this is the first installment if his THANK YOU albums. Instrumental acoustic guitar that just sounds awesome. Michael may have his problems but he is full of talent. This is one of those albums I listen to when I really need to calm down and relax…..I hate to say it but it puts me to sleep! It’s a good album and yes I have listened to the whole record without falling asleep!

    Dokken 2007

    If you head over to Dokken’s MySpace page, you can hear a rough mix of a new song called ‘Oasis’. The song is from their upcoming new album, LIGHTNING STRIKES AGAIN, due sometime in early 2008.

    Dokken 2007 lineup – Don Dokken (vocals), Mick Brown (drums), Jon Levin (guitars), & Barry Sparks (bass).