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Dokken - Hell To Pay review


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Band: Dokken
Album: Hell To Pay
Release date: July 2004

01. The Last Goodbye
02. Don't Bring Me Down
03. Escape
04. Haunted
05. Prozac Nation
06. Care For You
07. Better Off Before
08. Still I'm Sad
09. I Surrender
10. Letter To Home
11. Can You See
12. Care For You [acoustic version]

The best period in Dokken's career is certainly the eighties, no doubt of that. Ever since that, Dokken had tried to evolve, but nothing they done have giving them the same status, and now they try to go back to the roots (that they have tried before too) and the album "Hell to Pay" is ready to conquer the world, *cough*.

I don't think Don Dokken and the guys need any closer presentation, so I'm going to skip that, and just give you some facts from what happen since the last album came out, two years ago.
First of all, the Swedish guitarist John Norum (Europe) is gone, and replaced by John Levin. Norum also got all the blame from Dokken for the bad years that haunted Dokken lately.
Thenů Well, that's about it, I guess, except that Dokken, again, is going back to the roots, but different from other times, I really think he's closer now, but if he will succeed, is another question.

I also know that people feeling very strong about Dokken, in either way. I know many that really love him (or loved what he did in the eighties), but I also know people that hate him and everything about him.
I can't understand either of them. Sure, he is quite good, but he's got a to big ego for my taste, too much "me" and no "us".

But anyway, let's focus on "Hell to Pay" now, that's Dokken's album number 11 (or 12, depends how you're counting) since the debut-demo (Bootleg) in 1979, and as I said, they might be closer to what they once was now, but the question is, "is it really better than the previous Dokken?" Well, personally I really liked "Long Way Home", maybe not much old Dokken in it, but the sound was quite good, and there were some really good, slower, songs, like "Goodbye My Friend" that's one of the best ballads I ever heard.
And the faster "Sunless Days" that have one of the better guitar riffs I ever heard from Dokken.
But ok, I guess it's a strange album if you compare to what they done.

So for "Hell to Pay" I have two impressions, both that I like in and not. Because I think Dokken should try to find a sound, that could represent Dokken in the 21st century, and not try to go back to times that was, because that scene is over and will probably never return.
But I also like the album, or at least some particularly part, like the song "Escape", a mid-pace song that's very easy to like. But it's mostly that Don is singing better, he had some "good moments" on "Long Way Home", but overall it wasn't good, vocally.
So I feared that this would be the same, and after the first song, I was sure it was, but he pulled himself together and the second half (or already from the third song) his vocal effort is much better.

So overall, the album is good, not more nor less.
But I also didn't have any expectations before I got it, so I was really neutral when I putted it into my stereo.
Then who should buy it? Quite obvious answer, don't you think?
Fans of Dokken, both newer and older could like this, but if you have some kind of phobia against the latest Dokken albums, you have a 50/50 chance of liking this, at least Download a track or two before buying it.

A strange thing that I have to note is that there is two songs with the names of two Rainbow songs, I mean, how big is the chance of that? Hehe.

Check Out: "Escape", "Prozac Nation", "Care for You" & "Better Off Before".

Written by Malcolm | 08.07.2004



Comments: 4   Visited by: 31 users
29.01.2008 - 00:58
Rosetta Stoned
Only heard "Don't bring me down" which is a great heavy metal song. Glad to see this band added
04.04.2010 - 14:38
It's strange you actually like his vocals here. It's the same I-am-too-serious-a-songwriter-to-bother-with-hooks approach that has plagued every album since Dysfunctional. Each chorus is so undistinguished you hardly notice them the first time. Combine that with a few decent but nowhere near exceptional riffs and you have another stinker bearing the name Dokken. This band was so much better when Don Dokken was not writing the songs.
04.04.2010 - 22:57
Another outdated has-been band that should have realized the 80s are over.
It's one of the greatest mystery in life to me: why people still care for bands who should have stayed in the 80s, 20-25 years later.
*scratching head in total confusion*
"Why would we fear death, when life is so much more frightening?"
05.04.2010 - 11:39
This does not sound like their 80s stuff and you most certainly have not listened to this album (or you would not have said what you said). I do not know why you think you are qualified to comment on everything just because you recognise the band's name and feel the need to somehow drag it through the mud. The least you could do is being somehow funny or intelligent about it and not behaving like a self-important prick with a lot of axes to grind

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