I must admit that Hell to Pay gives me a small glimmer of hope for Dokken’s up and coming 2007 release, Lightning Strikes Again.
The sound on Hell to Pay is far more subdued that the band’s previous efforts with Lynch and Pilson. There are a few rockers on this disc, but you have to sift through the sludge to find them.
Don’t Bring Me Down is a high tempo rocker with plenty of excellent guitar work by Jon Levin. Don Dokken is in fine vocal form here.
Escape is a low to mid-tempo number that has grown on me after repeated listens. It is an above average track
Better Off Before retains the sound of classic Dokken. There is plenty of guitar noodling and crunching bass in this song. Good Stuff!
Still I’m Sad is a cool song with haunting guitars. It is a mid-tempo number that rocks hard.
Hell to Play still has plenty of misses, and mixing seems a little strange to me. Most people by a Dokken record because they want to hear something that rocks. Hell to Pay starts off with a semi mellow song, The Last Goodbye. It has a few rocking moments, but seems like a odd choice to open the disc with. There are several other songs in this vein, Haunted, Care For You, I Surrender, Letter To Home, Can You See. None of these songs are particularly bad, but they don’t rock as hard as they should.
Does this release compare to the George Lynch and Jeff Pilson releases? No, not even close. This isn’t the kind of release that will get your adrenaline pumping. John Levin’s playing is very good, but Hell to Pay suffers from too many low to mid tempo songs, and not enough songs that rock hard.
I think with the right material, the 4 piece unit of Don Dokken, Mick Brown, Barry Sparks and Jon Levin could probably rock pretty hard. Hopefully, their sophomore effort with this lineup is heavier that this one.
Hell to Pay, is an above average release that will appeal to some. Some Dokken fans may want to use this as a frisbee.
Rating: Out of 10
1. The Last Goodbye
2. Don’t Bring Me Down
5. Prozac Nation
6. Care For You
7. Better Off Before
8. Still I’m Sad
9. I Surrender
10. Letter To Home
11. Can You See
12. Care For You (Unplugged)