Released in 1999.
The saboteur known as George Lynch was out, clearly because he was smoking something very different musically, because if you hear his attempt at a Lynch Mob record in the same year, called “Smoke This” it was clear he was not thinking clearly.
And sadly, it is the only Dokken studio album to feature Reb Beach, Lynch’s replacement and the last one to feature long time bassist Jeff Pilson. In other words, Dictator Don was taking control of the empire that carries his surname. Pilson even took Don to court over it.
In the same way that “Shadowlife” had all songs written by the band members, “Erase The Slate” has the same listing. Production is also carried out by the band members.
For Dokken to release this album in the major markets, they needed to have three labels in place. CMC International did the North American market, SPV/Steamhammer did the European market and Mercury did the Japanese market.
Compare that to today,
Record it and release it to streaming services within a week. There are no gatekeepers.
“Erase the Slate”
It’s fast, on par with “Tooth And Nail” and “Kiss Of Death” for great album openers.
Make sure you check out the lead break from Reb Beach.
“Change the World”
Another head banging riff to start the song.
The verses sound like “Empire” from Queensryche, as the bass and drums groove, while a clean tone guitar plays arpeggios, before it cranks in with a distorted riff. Think “Jet City Woman”.
Stupid lyrics from Don, but then again, he’s never been known as a great lyricist. Musically, the song is excellent, full of great riffs and leads.
The doom and gloom does remind me of Alice In Chains musically, but the vocal melodies are straight from the 80’s hard rock scene.
A great song. The riffs, the vocal melodies and the powerhouse drumming all connect. At first it reminded me of Lynch Mob, then Winger, then EVH, then Metallica. There is a lot happening.
A bad idea to cover Harry Nilsson. Then again, they had no management and had total control of their independence, so no one was there to question things.
Oasis brought back The Beatles in a big way and suddenly bands in the 90’s incorporated the Oasis/Beatles feel.
Make sure you check the solo out.
“Voice of the Soul”
The riff is excellent. Credit to Mr Pilson for it. And the chorus is addictive. Overall, the song reminds me of “Streets” and “Gutter Ballet” Savatage.
“Crazy Mary Goes Round”
These kind of lyrics in 1999 did nothing for me. Regardless Mick Brown takes the lead vocals here. Musically, it sounds like a Van Halen cut in the intro, with a late 60’s blues/rockabilly feel in the verses. If John Kalodner was in charge of the track list, this song wouldn’t make it.
Reb Beach plagiarises his Winger days and “It’s Not Love” for the riffs and I like it.
And Wild Mick Brown brings the power on this one.
Make sure you check out the head banging riff before the solo and then the solo itself. Afterwards hail at the altar of Mr Beach.
“In Your Honor”
An acoustic track, a ballad which follows that Oasis/The Beatles vibe.
The Japanese version has two bonus tracks in “Upon Your Lips” and “Sign of the Times”.
“Upon Your Lips”
It has this “Lights Out” from UFO feel. Make sure you check out the lead break.
“Sign Of The Times”
It’s like a ballad and it should not have been left off the main album. “In Your Honor” and “Who Believes” are very similar and one should have made way for this.
Dokken’s tour in support of the album was recorded and released in 2000 as “Live From The Sun”. I don’t have this album, but will review it as Beach does play a few Lynch tunes on it.
The next studio album “Long Way Home”, released in 2002, featured former Europe guitarist John Norum.
And here are some final words from Jeff Pilson.
“If there’s one record for me with DOKKEN, it would be the ‘Tooth And Nail’  record, just because we were still very hungry.
We did a record in 1999 called ‘Erase The Slate’ that I was actually very, very proud of, with Reb Beach on guitar. A fabulous record.
Then there was a DIO record that I did called ‘Strange Highways’  that I still think was just a hugely underrated record, because when it came out, people were expecting a more traditional DIO record, and I think over time, people have come to appreciate it more.”