Feature: Albums that time forgot…DON DOKKEN – Up From The Ashes

DON DOKKEN - Up From The Ashes

Geffen Records (1990)

At the turn of the 1980′s there was a last hurrah for the genre that had sometimes been called glam metal, or more specifically hair metal.  Bolstered by albums such as Whitesnake (1987) and Winger (1988) the winds of change were blowing in the early 1990s.  And Sunset Strip was giving way to Seattle: grunge was on the way.

That didn’t stop a few more albums emerging in the early 1990s which owed much to the eighties melodic hard rock sound such as House Of Lords (Sahara, 1990) and  Shadow King (1991).  One of which was fronted by Don Dokken and released as a solo album in 1990.

During the eighties Dokken had been at the forefront of the hair metal genre but, by 1989, they had called it a day following the live album ‘Beast From The East’ and differences between Don Dokken and George Lynch.

Not able to use the band moniker for legal reasons, Dokken regrouped with Mikkey Dee on drums (ex-King Diamond who later joined Motorhead and Scorpions), Peter Baltes on bass (ex-Accept) and two guitar slingers: John Norum (previously with Europe) and Billy White from a thrash metal outfit Watchtower.

‘Up From The Ashes’ is really a continuation of the familiar Dokken sound, “just another incarnation of Dokken” as described by the frontman.  But it is marked by a greater consistency in songwriting and performance than latter-day band albums.

An album of highlights, not least the very complementary guitaring of Norum and White.  Whilst ‘Mirror Mirror’ and ‘Stay’ are real standouts they shouldn’t overshadow the likes of opener ‘Crash ‘N Burn’,  ‘Forever’ and ‘Down In Flames’.   ‘When Love Finds A Fool’ was a co-write with Glenn Hughes.  ‘Up From The Ashes’ is simply everything that is good about melodic hard rock and frankly a blueprint for any aspiring band in that genre.

The band toured in 1991 to promote the album, in North America and Japan.  Whilst pleased with the results, Dokken (and the label) was frustrated that the album didn’t sell in previous quantities and it wasn’t until 2008 that a second solo album emerged.

In the interim, after a brief reunion with George Lynch in 1993,  Dokken re-purposed the band that bore his name with Norum on guitar and Mick Brown and Jeff Pilson returning on drums and bass respectively.

At the apex of hair metal, ‘Up From The Ashes’ emerges as one of that genre’s crowning glories.

David Randall

David Randall chatted to John Norum in 2009 when he recalled his time with Dokken in the 1990s (3:45)

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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 14 March 2021 and includes the Top 10 albums at www.getreadytorock.com for that week.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 23 March 2021.

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