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DOKKEN ‘Hell To Pay’
Sanctuary (2004)

Dokken are back with their new album and a follow-up to 2002’s ‘Long Way From Home’. There have been some line-up changes since then with bassist Barry Sparks (ex-Uli Jon Roth) joining guitarist Jon Levin (bizarrely the band’s lawyer as well!), Don Dokken and Mick Brown. I’ve been a fan since their 80’s heyday and have fond memories of seeing the band open for AC/DC at the NEC back in the late 80’s.

‘The Last Goodbye’ starts the album well - a tasty rocker with a Eastern tinged backing and the pile driving riffs on ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ keep the pace going. ‘Haunted’ has a grunge feel and some good, solid riffing from Jon Levin. Don Dokken goes all mellow on ‘Care About You’ - a nice ballad with acoustic guitar and piano, just shows Dokken are not all about big rock anthems (there is also an unplugged version of this at the end of the album). Sadly ‘I Surrender’ (not the Rainbow classic) and the Beatles influenced ‘Letter To Home’ let the side down - tunes that you can’t remember after you’ve played them.

Not a bad album with a few stand out tracks but overall it lacks the bite of the band’s classic era and there are too many slow numbers for my liking.


Review by Jason Ritchie

Related>> DVD review

Buy this CD

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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