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The Record Vault: Dokken – Hell To Pay

It probably didn’t make a big impression on me, because I forgot I had purchased it, so I purchased it again and now I have two CD’s.

The most dangerous job in the world at that point in time was the Dokken guitar player spot. After George Lynch, the band went through Reb Beach and John Norum.

For “Hell To Pay”, released in 2004, there was another newbie, Jon Levin on guitars.

Production was once again handled by Don Dokken.

The Last Goodbye

The song is written by Don Dokken, Mick Brown and Jon Levin, who quickly announces himself with a bone crunching riff inspired by “Kashmir” over a rock steady groove by Brown.

Dokken has been dabbling with exotic sounds on previous albums and that spirit has carried through on this.

Make sure you check out the lead break from Levin.

Don’t Bring Me Down

Written by Dokken, Barry Sparks and Levin.

It’s fast.

This is Levin’s statement.

That lead break.

Wow. Just listen to it.

And he did something on that lead break, not heard on a Dokken album, a harmony solo.

Escape

Another Dokken, Brown and Levin cut.

This one is like a dark rock song, almost alternative but still delivered with hooks from the 80s, something they copped shit for, but to me that’s what’s special about the album. Sounding current and modern with a sense of pop melody in the vocals.

Haunted

Another Dokken, Brown and Levin cut and one of my favourite Dokken cuts from this version of the band.

Levin goes a bit high octane bluesy in the lead break and I like it.

Prozac Nation

It’s written by Kelly Keeling, Dokken and Levin.

A familiar riff and vocal melody rule this song.

Levin goes all chromatic for his brief solo spot light.

Care For You

Written by Dokken and Keeling.

Yeah I didn’t care much about this song and I was disappointed when the bonus track was this song in an “unplugged” setting.

Better Off Before

Another Dokken, Brown and Levin cut.

A groove metal riff kicks it off, very Disturbed like.

Dokken is bringing his sense of melody to it and the 2004 version of the band is definitely rocking.

Still I’m Sad

No relation to the Rainbow song.

It’s a cut penned by Don.

It’s got groove and I like it’s three distinct parts, the clean tone verses, the distorted melodic pre chorus and the anthemic Chorus.

I Surrender

Again, no relation to the Rainbow song.

This one is also a penned by Don. It percolates with a hooky riff as Don builds it vocally.

The Chorus riff reminds me of “Unchain The Night” and I like it.

Levin is also channeling Neal Schon on the lead break.

Letter From Home

Written by Keeling, Levin and Dokken.

The band is channeling The Beatles and Led Zeppelin on this one.

The lead break from Levin is excellent. Very Jimmy Page like.

Can You See

A Dokken and Levin cut. it’s got that Dokken 80s spirit from “The Hunter” but Don’s voice is low, almost monotone like which was slowly becoming his style.

And Levin brings it again for the lead break.

If this is your first Dokken experience, there is enough here to get you interested to hear more.

If you grew up with Dokken in the 80s then this is a good listen.

C

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11 thoughts on “The Record Vault: Dokken – Hell To Pay

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