KERRANG! ISSUE 79 October 1984
DOKKEN Tooth And Nail (Elektra 960376-1)
WONDERS WILL never cease – Don Dokken has actually got out of bed long enough to make a follow-up to that long gone Carrere debut which set spines a-tingling two and a half years ago. In the meantime, the States finally got that same record in remixed form late last year, which means that in one area at least ‘Tooth And Nail’ won’t be considered dramatically overdue. But it is..
I suspect, in fact, that the Double D is capable of making a better album than this, but as 1984’s episode in the Dokken saga it’s meaty and mighty, and more than a match for most of the pretenders to the throne of LA Metaldom.
Dokken’s voice is a melodic one, not a rock bellow, and as a result his material takes on a strongly melodic format notwithstanding the gut- wrenching power of the band, with Don and George Lynch hammering out some thunderous riffing and dazzling soloing between them.
The warm but threatening instrumental opening ‘Without Warning’ leads into the Metal thrash of the title track with pleasing style, although ‘Tooth And Nail’ is probably the least meritorious track on the album despite being a classier than usual example of the genre. The ensuing ‘Just Got Lucky’ scores big points, though – so melodic that it’s almost poppy, yet maintaining an unerring course for the Metal grail. lt’s followed by two more killers in the shape of the clenched-fist drive of ‘Heartless Heart’ and the anxious rise and fall of ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes’ with its richly melodic hook.
The slower, statuesque power of ‘When Heaven Comes Down’ opens Side Two strongly, leading into the excellent ‘Into The Fire’, rising from a picked electric intro to proud riffola and peaking on yet another of Dokken’s characteristically strong hooks. Whatever the heat of the beat there’s always plenty of melody in a Dokken toon, and this one even features a delightful multiDokken harmonised bridge.
‘Bullets To Spare’ is potentially predictable fare, but the gruff riffola makes way for a harmonised build to the – admittedly predictable – hookline, granting a touch of individuality to what would otherwise have been pretty much standard issue.
‘Alone Again is the standard big rock ballad, but sounds far too committed to be completely written off as it rises to a towering peak. And then it’s son of ’Nightrider’ to finish, the storming ‘Turn On The Action’, where again the potential cliché is dressed in colourful new clothes, racing from a crazed intro to a skidmarked conclusion in furiously excited – and exciting – style.
Like I said, I suspect Dokken’s capable of more than this, but oh boy is it good stuff anyway!