Erase The Slate


CMC International Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I don't remember exactly how or when I got into Dokken; I think it was because I heard their music played on the brokered heavy metal station so much that I finally relelnted and bought their albums at the used record store. But after their live disc Beast From the East, Dokken seemed to fade into the annals of hard rock history.

Don Dokken and crew finally reunited a few years ago, apparently putting all bad blood behind them for a while. However, after their last studio effort Shadowlife (which got reamed on these pages - relax, I didn't write the review), guitarist extraordinaire George Lynch bolted to restart his solo career and side band Lynch Mob. How would a band like Dokken replace such an intregal part of their sound.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The answer might have surprised a few people: enter Reb Beach, formerly of Winger. Well, snicker all you want, 'cause the style of music Dokken plays on their latest album Erase The Slate seems to be the key that unlocked the doors for Beach to really cut loose and shred. And while I'll freely admit I haven't followed Dokken for some time - hell, I just bought a used copy of Shadowlife the other day - I have to admit, this disc impressed me.

Okay, so you're still not convinced that Beach is the correct fit for Dokken. All you have to do, my friend, is slam this disc in the player and crank up the title track. One listen to the guitar solo that Beach wrings out of his six-string, you just might be asking yourself, "George who?"

Granted, Dokken gets off to a little bit of a slow start with "Erase The Slate" and "Change The World"; if anything, these cuts show that Dokken's voice is as strong today as it was in the mid-'80s, while the band has rarely sounded as tight. Once you get to cuts like "Maddest Hatter" and "Shattered," things really start to click for the band, and there's no looking back from there on.

After an interesting choice of cover songs - ever expect to hear a metal band cover Harry Nilsson's "One"? - Erase The Slate truly makes its mark with tracks like "Who Believes," "Haunted Lullabye" and "Crazy Mary Goes Round," the latter track featuring vocals form drummer Wild Mick Brown. It's an interesting twist, and it's one that works.

Now, if you weren't that big of a Dokken fan in their glory days, chances are Erase The Slate won't do much to win you over. (Then again, stranger things have been known to happen.) But even if you were a casual fan of the band as I would classify myself, you can't help but be impressed with what Dokken has created. They went into this disc probably knowing that they wouldn't be topping the Billboard charts, but they wanted to create the best possible music - if only for themselves. Something tells me that they'll end up sharing these songs with more people than they could imagine right now.

Erase The Slate is a return to form for Dokken that should help to strengthen the argument for returning this band to the spotlight.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of CMC International Records, and is used for informational purposes only.