DON DOKKEN – Up From The Ashes [Japan HR-HM 1000 reissue series] HQ

DON DOKKEN - Up From The Ashes [Japan HR-HM 1000 reissue series] (2018) full

Universal Music Japan started some time a curious but more than welcomed campaign: the reissue of long time out of print albums from their catalog titled ‘HR/HM 1000‘, that meaning Hard Rock / Heavy Metal at the price of 1000 Yen = about 9 USD.
One of the very interesting albums from the series, is without a doubt “Up From The Ashes“, the first DON DOKKEN solo record.

One of the greatest exponents from the US hard rock scene during the Eighties, Dokken imploded in 1989 not with a bang but a whimper. George Lynch and Mick Brown began Lynch Mob, while Jeff Pilson formed War & Peace. Don Dokken meanwhile was cooking up a hot new band. The only issue was the name. The ex-members, who owned a stake in the Dokken name, refused to let Don use it. They also shot down the names “Dokken II” and “DKN”.
Don was understandably upset that he couldn’t use his own last name for his name, so he opted to bill himself as Don Dokken the solo artist.

His solo band was a killer. Fresh out of Europe with a smash hit album under his belt, John Norum joined on guitar. Billy White from the metal band Watchtower was the second guitar player, giving Dokken a double guitar lineup (or three if you count Don himself).
King Diamond’s Mikkey Dee was aboard on drums, several years away from joining Motorhead (and now Scorpions). Rounding out the band was veteran Accept bassist Peter Baltes, who played with Dokken in their earliest days.
A true international line-up: American, Norwegian, Swedish, German…

With all this burning anger coupled with tremendous instrumental firepower, one might expect Don to come back rockin’ harder than ever.
His solo album “Up From The Ashes” is of course Dokken-the band influenced, but with an emphasis on melodic rock. It did however continue the core Dokken sound, with some biting and very Lynch-like guitar riffs.

Entering with the kind of jagged riffs that made Dokken famous, “Crash ‘N Burn” sounds almost exactly like Don’s old band. Hard rock, smooth vocals, and six-string acrobatics. There is no familiar Jeff Pilson backing vocal, but Peter Baltes and John Norum get the job done. The incredibly impressive guitar histrionics are clearly not George Lynch, but fans will love what John and Billy White cooked up.
A lot of “Up From The Ashes” fits into a nice little hard rock box, a little smoother around than edges than classic Dokken, but strong as ever.

A strong follow-up called “1000 Miles Away” sits in a comfortable midtempo rock zone. It’s not a ballad, it’s not a rocker, but it’s somewhere in between. Hit material.
The album’s single “Mirror Mirror” is one of my favorites, and I don’t know but the main riff remindme of Van Halen. When Some Nights” has a similar vibe to “1000 Miles Away”, and there are many others. No real weak songs abide within.

Another favorite of mine is “Living a Lie”, a sharp Norum co-write with a Europe-like sound. Also up there, “Give It Up” is a brief blast of rock. “Stay” leans in a slightly more poppy melodic rock direction, successfully so.
“When Love Finds a Fool” is the only ballad on the CD, co-written with former Deep Purple and Black Sabbath singer Glenn Hughes, who also provided backing vocals for the song.

DON DOKKEN - Up From The Ashes [Japan HR-HM 1000 reissue series] (2018) back

With “Up From The Ashes”, Don re-established himself. Nobody could accuse him of leaning on George Lynch. It really sounds like a Dokken-the band continuation, but with refreshed players.
Norum shines all over the record with killer riffs and hot solos, and all songs boast some impressive musical contributions from all the players.
This album never was remastered, but this Japanese reissue sounds great. It may be the new digital transfer technique – which augment the signal / Dynamic Range.
HIGHLY Recommended


01 – Crash ‘n’ Burn
02 – 1000 Miles Away
03 – When Smoe Nights
04 – Forever
05 – Living A Lie
06 – When Love Finds A Fool
07 – Give It Up
08 – Mirror Mirror
09 – Stay
10 – Down In Flames
11 – The Hunger

Don Dokken – lead vocals, guitar
John Norum – lead guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Billy White – lead guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Peter Baltes – bass, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Mikkey Dee – drums
Glenn Hughes – backing vocals on “When Love Finds a Fool”
Tony Franklin – bass intro on “Stay”
Ken Mary – Drums on “The Hunger”



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