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Album Review : Dokken – Heaven Comes Down

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Review by Richard Henry for MPM

The number 13, unlucky for some, lucky for others, well that’s what we have here from Dokken, crazy to think that this band has been about in one form or another since 1978, that’s 45 years since inception, and there have been changes and line up comings and goings, the most consistent member of the band apart from Don himself is Jon Levin who has been there now for over 20 years and is a hell of a guitar player, so let’s get stuck in and see what this album has for us!

Fugitive – Now if there is a way to start the album, it’s that classic clean guitar intro, as the drums filter in with the heavy guitars and then bang, straight up-tempo rocker, I love the clean guitars and the riff, nice little solo hits there, the production is crisp, the vocals are definitely down in pitch, giving a bit more of a warmer sound, nice use of doubling on the chorus as well, also a great chorus going on there as well, love the little harmony guitar parts in that second chorus, it breaks down into a lovely start of a solo that then builds up, I think after the length of time in the band, as much as Levin can do that Lynch thing, he really is his own player, great solo, back into that chorus, great opener!

Gypsy – Bit more up-tempo, that’s a great riff at the start of that then a bit of an opening solo over it, almost reminds me of something like So Many Tears from Back for the Attack, lovely bass playing on the verse with a more mellow guitar before it starts to pick up, that’s a great chorus, really catchy, loads of vocal harmonies there and it really fills up the sound, middle section is a really cool vibey sort of part, then into a just class solo, like everything I love as a guitarist is there, it’s really melodic but the playing has flash and technique as well, that chorus is just awesome, I love Dons vocals that bit lower, love the way the song comes to a close as well!

Is it Me or You? – Drum intro and that’s a pure 80s groove in there, just dirty and nasty, it’s so good, this one gives me real Whitesnake late 80s vibes, when its slips into that chorus and those vocals come in, it’s just so smooth, like the Beatles crossed with pure AOR, that groove is just so good, that middle section is definitely Zeppelin worship! Mr. Levin just hits another literally perfect solo, melodic, flashy, trem work, it’s all there, then back into that silky chorus, this is just a blinder of a track!

Just Like a Rose – Still up-tempo, no letting up, nice sliding riff there at the start of this one with another intro solo, then it drops down into the verse where it’s a bit more subdued with a nice driving bass line, that chorus is as good as anything these guys have wrote before and again, Don using all the harmony vocals to blanket the chorus as well just adds so much depth to the track, and again with the production it’s all so polished and in place, so well done, all I can say is the solo, god damn the solo is so good, then into a vocal break into the chorus and it’s so good then bang into the chorus with the full band, another absolutely class track!

I’ll Never Give Up – Ballad territory with the start of this one, big drum sound as well because here is the space in the mix for it, again with the lower range in the vocals it adds a load of depth to the verse, then it just gets heavier in the chorus but the vocals again just add like a warm blanket over the chorus and again, what a chorus, nice bit of fretless bass in there as well, that lead into the solo, then the really long held notes, that’s the person playing the solo on the edge of a cliff with the wind blowing in his hair on the video, its again an absolutely stunning solo from Jon, honestly if this song had come out in 86 it would be massive!!

Saving Grace – Drum intro and then someone needs to call Jimmy Page cause that’s 100% Zeppelin inspired right there, Kashmir vibes all over it, I love that groove it’s just so deep, then a nice melodic solo that merges into harmonies, before driving into the verse with a nice sliding riff, again with the massive chorus, every song has delivered on that so far, it’s just so good, the way things are layered in the guitars is great during the verse and chorus, then that middle section, some nice bass work from Chris adding little fills while holding it down with BJ, Jon just delivers, nice tapping licks and nice melodic parts in that solo, then into that huge chorus again, another great track!

Over the Mountain – Boom and in we come with a great pull off riff, that drum groove and the production just makes you want to be nodding your head from the start, lifts into the pre chorus and keeps twisting till you get to the chorus where again the wall of vocals come in and jus fill up the sound and make the chorus massive, lovely bluesy solo coming in, now this if no one told me I would assume it was Mr. Lynch playing it as it’s really close to his feel on this track, then into the floor tom hits before we hit back into that chorus, these songs will absolutely stick in your head, love that melody solo part as the song is closing out!

I Remember – Like Alone Again, this one has that power ballad vibe right from the off, then it all goes major key in the chorus, now the chorus on this one feels like it should be sung higher to be fair, it’s the only one so far that I have thought that, it feels like it needs more of a lift, great solo again from Jon, he has not put a note wrong the whole album, great guitar tone as well, this one is for the most part a really good track, that chorus is the only thing I maybe think could do with a bit of a lift or something?

Lost in You – Hitting right into a heavy groove and with a twin harmony guitar riff at the start of this, I thought Queensryche vibes, then it goes right into clean guitars and a driving bass line, that prechorus really feels a sense of longing in Dons voice, that riff under the chorus as well is so catchy as well as the great vocals in the chorus as well, so by this point you would be right, I am going to gush over Mr. Levins solo, it has the flash, it has the taste it has the technique, it has everything, then back into that absolutely brilliant chorus, what a track!

Santa Fe – Okay, acoustic strumming to start this one off and little percussion instrumentation, it’s almost like a countryish vibe to it, crossed with a bit of California sun, listen to the depth of Dons voice in an acoustic song where there is nowhere to hide, I actually love this, it’s so different but it’s a class way to close the album, yeah folky and country vibes from this, with the acoustic instruments and a shaker, its stripped back and it’s really cool, nice little slide part and then more of the harmony vocals, I love this closer to the album!

9.5 out of 10

The songs, the playing, the vocals, the production are all excellent! If you love classic Dokken you must listen to this, now yeah, the vocals are not helium balloon 80s vocals, but they have so much soul and depth, the guitar playing is sublime and for me Jon Levin is man of the match, outstanding on the whole album and the rhythm section of BJ and Chris just hold it down so solidly! I loved this album and the only reason it’s not a 10 would be I think the chorus on I Remember needed higher vocals but apart from that this album is an absolute banger!

DON DOKKEN – Vocals                                                                                                                         
JON LEVIN – Guitar
BJ ZAMPA – Drums

Produced by Bill Palmer & Don Dokken
Bill Palmer: acoustic guitar on ‘Santa Fe
Mark Boals: special guest (background vocals)

Follow Dokken on:
Official Site ► https://www.dokken.net/
Facebook ► https://www.facebook.com/DokkenOfficial
YouTube ► https://www.youtube.com/DokkenOfficial
X/Twitter ► https://www.twitter.com/Dokken
Instagram ► https://www.instagram.com/dokken_official

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