Dokken – Heaven Comes Down Review

Look, to be honest is a valiant effort for Don to release this now, I can sit here and complain about his vocal range at age 70 or whatever...

Released by: Silver Lining Music

Release Date: October 27th, 2023

Genre: Hard Rock

Links: https://dokken.net/

 

Line Up:

Don Dokken – Vocals                                                                           
Jon Levin – Guitar
Chris Mccarvill – Bass
Bj Zampa – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1 – Fugitive 
2 – Gypsy
3 – Is It Me Or You?
4 –  A Just Like A Rose
5 –  I’ll Never Give Up
6 –  Saving Grace
7 –  Over The Mountain
8 –  I Remember 
9 –  Lost In You
10 – Santa Fe

 

Like many fresh fans of a band, we go down rabbit holes of discography from that band’s past to find more notable material. Me and Dokken have a history, we go way back. When I first heard Dokken I was listening to their seminal live offering “Beast From The East” a 1985 release that got me into the band. Yeah, a friggin live album. Back in those days, I was big into the flying guitars and George Lynch aka Mr Scary will forever hold a special place in my heart as one of my guitar heroes. Gladly I dipped into a wormhole of discovery and found all the great music that Dokken had released in the 80’s. Especially “Tooth and Nail”, “Under Lock and Key” and of course “Back for the Attack”. I was hooked and still to this day I consider those records just classic 80’s Hard Rock. The melodies of Don Dokken and the ridiculous skill that Lynch showed the world then, were just majestic. Is hard to match some of those songs; they have held on pretty well over the years. 

Yea, I know the nonmusic stuff and the battles and the discourse between Don and Lynch made plenty of news over the years, and it has taken over and taken away from the beautiful music they made together. It shouldn’t but it has to some extent. I don’t want to hear about that anymore, please, this was years and years ago. George is in a different place and so is Don, now we finally have a new record; the first one in a long time, the last album was “Broken Bones” in 2012. And no Lynch is not involved in this one either, but Jon Levin is back on the axe who is a more than capable guitar player.

The rest of the lineup features Chris McCarvill on Bass and the great BJ Zampa on drums. The mix comes via famed producer Kevin Shirley  (Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Joe Bonamassa) and is produced by Bill Palmer and Don Dokken. Interesting to note the name of the album borrows from their famous song “Heaven Comes Down” from Tooth and Nail.

The single “Fugitive” is a typical Dokken vox track, with the sprinkled flying guitars of Levin, is a fine song that doesn’t push the boundaries of anything that Dokken has done in the past, but it’s not bad. The nice groove in “Is It Me or You” stands out to me, I feel here that Jon Levin and the rhythm section stand out and are fresh and the riff has some additional hooks, again followed by a really peak guitar solo by Levin once more. In “Just Like A Rose” the excellent guitar playing of Levin continues, the melodies here work a bit better for Don, no he’s not breaking any chains but it works fine. It’s a cool song, with a retro-new Dokken vibe thing going on. Don’s vocals climb a bit higher on the scale on “I’ll Never Give Up”, this one just sounds like an old-school Dokken classic, probably one of the best on the album, the rising choruses combined with the excellent fretwork, yea this one rocks majorly. The cowboy giddy-up groove in “Over the Mountain” is another lively cut, the chorus is simple but again the riffs here are memorable. The opening intro from “I Remember” sounds like a bit of “Alone Again” another classic Dokken cut from the 80’s, and leaves a mark. 

Look, to be honest is a valiant effort for Don to release this now, I can sit here and complain about his vocal range at age 70 or whatever other things that picky fans want to hold on to, but I’m not going to do that and if you are a fan who’s in that place, like Don said don’t go to the live shows. Be grateful that bands like Dokken still manage to provide something new to the world of Rock, I can appreciate that. I think is a solid album with really sharp and well-produced touches as expected. I have been a fan of Jon Levin for years, the guy is a heck of a guitar player and he doesn’t try to be Lynch, because honestly nobody ever will be. His guitar tone was impeccable and just different, but he has always done a good job of keeping the spirit of the band’s sound alive and has done the old songs justice. I don’t know if this is it for Dokken, but if it is, I give Don credit for still staying in the game and seeying this record through. And if you are insisting on living in the past, your prerogative… Lynch Mob is releasing their new album a week before Dokkens, go figure, and take that as you will. You can have the best of both Dokken and Lynch’s worlds just a week apart.

 

Score: 7/10

Reviewed by: Shadow Editor

 

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