Dokken Greatest Hits CD Review

Published on May 17th, 2010

Through good and bad over the last 30 years, Dokken has held strong as a force to be reckoned with in the world of hard rock. Millions of albums were sold as the band hit its prime in the 1980s, and although the times and tastes have changed, Dokken has set forth a continuous supply of new releases for its fans. Now in 2010, singer Don Dokken feels that the time has come for updated versions of the hit songs recorded by the band decades ago – which have now become rock classics.

Enter Greatest Hits, a 12-song package consisting of 10 re-recorded and re-mastered songs, and two brand new tracks. From beginning to end, the melodies are fresh and the production is top notch on this release. There’s an added force to the driving guitar of “Breaking the Chains”, and “Unchain the Night” sounds more menacing than ever. Dokken is back to prove their unique brand of rock will live on, somehow managing to produce a release that is just as addictive as their prime works.

Just Got Lucky” is a great selection to start off the disc, and perhaps the highlight of the re-recorded songs. Don Dokken’s voice is kept in a lower and more comfortable key on this song as it is on many others, but this is clearly one of his finest singing efforts. The band’s very first hit “Breaking the Chains” is next for a facelift. The rhythm section is much more defined than it ever was on the original version, and the guitar riffs are remarkably crisp. Don Dokken from years past is brought in to fill some of the impossibly high parts, but the entire recording flows seamlessly. The guitar solo and bridge of the song is a prime example of the excellent production showcased on this disc.

There’s no break in the action as “Into the Fire” is up next. Added bass and menacing vocal delivery from Don make this recording a success. “The Hunter” is another fine performance from Don even in its higher parts, and features a ripping guitar solo from Jon Levin. Next is a case where the perfection achieved in the first version is nearly impossible to repeat. “In My Dreams” isn’t a bad re-record, but it is one of the weakest songs on the disc.

The chorus of “It’s Not Love” is sampled from the 1980s, but the slightly tweaked guitar solo adds some flair to the song. The sole ballad that made the cut, “Alone Again” maintains its original passion with a more rugged performance from Don Dokken with just the right touch of vibrato. “Dream Warriors” and “Unchain the Night” are noticeably changed in key from the originals, with “Unchain” emerging as the stronger of the two. The instrumentation of the haunting introduction is much improved, and as Don yells “never” for the last time, Jon breaks into a finely executed version of George Lynch’s solo.

Mick Brown pounds the intro to “Tooth and Nail” harder than ever, but the most noticeable part of this final song is the rough tone to Don’s voice as he wails “straight to the top” with all his might. Letting it loose, after all, is what metal is about.

The two new songs that follow the 10 re-records are “Almost Over” and “Magic Man”. “Almost Over” features what is perhaps the best vocal performance from Don Dokken on new material in over a decade. The songwriting is very reminiscent of early Dokken, but is still modern enough to stand ground in 2010. Drug dealers are the subject of “Magic Man”, a fast-paced finale to the disc. Entrancing guitars are intertwined with lyrics that tell the story of a drug addiction, all to a forceful backbeat.

Two bonus tracks in the form of cover songs are available for listeners in Japan. “We have a cover song called “Lies” by the Knickerbockers and also “Bus Stop” by the Hollies. Mick sang live as a duet on that and it came out really cool,” said frontman Don Dokken in our recent interview. You can read the full interview, which includes discussion of the band’s future, by clicking here.

Dokken is on the road once again in 2010. You can view tour dates and get the latest information on Don Dokken, Mick Brown, Jon Levin, and Sean McNabb at Dokken.net.

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