Dokken’s latest release Long Way Home starts out with a hard rockin’ backbeat from drummer Mick Brown, but somewhere in the mix it seems that vocalist and producer Don Dokken forgot that hard rock fans expect to hear a guitar along with his vocals. After the amazing comeback that Dokken gained with Reb Beach’s fresh approach on Erase the Slate, it is an extreme disappointment to find that Don Dokken approached this album as more of a solo release than a band effort, especially since Beach’s replacement John Norum has so much to offer to this band.
While they seem to border on the edge of adult contemporary tracks, the strongest songs on this release include soft ballads with crystal clear vocal harmonies like “Goodbye My Friend,” “I’ve Found,” and “There Was a Time,” and the cover of “Heart Full of Soul,” which actually features a rockin guitar solo. Other tracks like “Under the Gun,” and the opener “Sunless Days,” mentioned above seem to have great potential when performed live, but they don’t come across with the punch they deserve on this album. We’re not talking disaster like Shadowlife, but Long Way Home still seems a long way off the original path of this band, and most Dokken fans are likely to agree. Here’s to hoping that the band’s live show will tell a different story!