Dokken – Live From The Sun
So George Lynch was out again after the disastrous “Shadowlife” album and whatever stuff Lynch was smoking at the time, fertilized with the terrible hip hop album from Lynch Mob called “Smoke This” in 99, while Dokken regrouped with Reb Beach from Winger on guitar and released the excellent hard rock album, “Erase The Slate”.
“Live From The Sun” is a perfect capture of the Reb Beach era of Dokken and the excellent return to form album “Erase The Slate” from Dokken.
So no surprises here as the concert kicks off with “Erase The Slate”, a fast rocker with a brilliant lead break from Mr Beach himself.
Is it just me hearing “Race The Snake” instead of “Erase The Slate”?
Fake crowd noise then chimes in, as Reb Beach moves effortlessly into “Kiss Of Death” and it’s a one-two knock out combo.
That’s all followed with “The Hunter” and “Into The Fire” before “Madhatter” is played from the “Erase The Slate” album and so far it’s a pretty stellar set list.
But it gets better.
“Too High To Fly” is up next from the underrated “Dysfunctional” album, followed by some Lynch era classics in “Breaking The Chains”, “Alone Again”, “It’s Not Love”, “Tooth And Nail” and “In My Dreams”.
Don Dokken still cared about how he sung live during this period, and he’s pushing himself. On some songs, he’s struggling like “Breaking The Chains” but hey, his jeans needed to be tighter to pull off the highs he did back in 83.
And if he struggled, the backing vocals of Brown and Pilson gave him enough cover. And Reb Beach remained faithful to the Lynch classic solos with some improvisation here and there.
And I wanted to hear the Mark II line-up of Don Dokken on vocals, Reb Beach on guitar, Jeff Pilson on bass and Mick Brown on drums make new music again, but it didn’t happen.
Matchbox Twenty – Mad Season
This band really filled a hard rock void for me with the album “Yourself Or Someone Like You” released in 1996. Then Rob Thomas did “Smooth” with Santana and it was a smash everywhere. And so was Rob Thomas.
Then in 2000, four years after the debut was released, they dropped “Mad Season” and I was like, what happened to the hard rock on it. There’s still distorted guitars and a rock feel, but its more experimental. Which I also like as well.
And it went straight to number 1 in Australia.
Of course it’s got enough songs on it to satiate the fans of the debut with “If You’re Gone”, but “Rest Stop” is a lot better and more or less forgotten.
And “Bent” is grossly underrated.
As well as “Leave”, which is one of those pop style ballads that percolates and you feel like its gonna explode but it doesn’t, but the guitars keep getting layered and Rob Thomas keeps it going with a heartfelt vocal. And that passion continues with the closer, “You Won’t Be Mine”.
But there wasn’t enough on this album to keep me interested and I fell off the Matchbox Twenty train.
Alice Cooper – Brutal Planet
I really liked “The Last Temptation”. But that album came out in 1994 and I was like, when is Alice Cooper going to release his next album.
Well that happened six years later with “Brutal Planet”.
Its Alice being brutally heavy.
I’m a fan when artists incorporate the sounds of what is current into their style and this album suited the menacing voice of Alice Cooper to a tee.
Songs like “Brutal Planet”, “Sanctuary”, “Pick Up The Bones” and “It’s The Little Things” keep the album interesting.
And the band for the recording is excellent. Eric Singer is pounding away on the drums, while Phil X (future Bon Jovi guitarist) and Ryan Roxie (who started working with Alice Cooper in 1996 and is still there assisting) are on guitars. Bob Marlette rounds out the band as rhythm guitarist, keyboardist, bass player and producer.
Listen to the industrial groove metal infused riff of “Brutal Planet” and then go to the punk grunge infused “Sanctuary” with its speed rock style riff. You’ll either be banging your head in glee and the “Poison” loving fans will be spitting in their cups in disgust. “Eat Some More” musically, could have come from a Black Sabbath album in the 70’s with its doom riff.
My favourite is “Pick Up The Bones” and the way it moves between the clean tone arpeggios to the arena rock Chorus all within the sounds and grooves of Industrial Metal, but it’s a hard rock song at its core.
VAST – Music For The People
VAST stands for Visual Audio Sensory Theatre.
The drummer from a band I was in shared the CD with me. The influence of world music instruments and chants from different people and religions reminded me of Led Zeppelin (Kashmir) and The Tea Party, so I was immediately interested.
And “Touched” was the song that really got me. It starts off with a strummed acoustic guitar and a Pink Floyd’ish like vocal. Then these Afghan like voices kick in and I’m all in, as the drums kick in and out and in again adding power and stillness to the song.
“Flames” is an acoustic guitar, a violin and some synth strings with a sombre vocal melody. “Temptation” sounds like it could have come from The Tea Party album.
“Three Doors” has that exotic middle eastern sound and “The Niles Edge” has Gregorian Chants with a percolating tribal hand drum and an melancholic acoustic riff.
“You” is the album closer and it has this TonePad lick that keeps repeating almost metronomically, with choir voices and a guitar riff. Its slow, its atmospheric and it’s a great closer.
I do recall another album afterwards and then nothing, but by looking at Spotify, there seems to have been quite a few albums. I guess it’s time to dig in and see what’s been happening. In between listening to Van Halen of course.
Well, I guess it’s time to go back to 1985 for its part 7.