Sounding more like Dokken than Dokken, guitarist George Lynch and bassist, keyboard player and singer Jeff Pilson Dokken refugees who teamed up with drummer Michael Frowein to record Wicked Underground have made the album their old band should have made a decade ago. As the principal songwriters in Dokken, helping pen such borderline-classic Eighties metal songs as "Just Got Lucky," "In My Dreams," "Into the Fire," and "It's Not Love," Lynch and Pilson know how to craft melodic yet tough tunes. And the dozen tracks on Wicked Underground the title is a dual reference to Lynch's first Lynch Mob album, 1990's Wicked Sensation, and one of Pilson's earlier bands, Underground Moon deliver a glorious one-two punch full of aggressive playing and heavenly harmonies that'll bring longtime Dokken fans to their knees.
Lynch doesn't shred as much as he did in Lynch Mob, opting instead for a more contemporary yet retro down-tuned sound that allows him plenty of room to move and experiment with electronics, distortion and other effects. Pilson, meanwhile, shows off his full range of vocals with a voice that at times recalls Don Dokken. Such tracks as "Beast in the Box," "When You Bleed," "The Evil That You Are" and "Goodbye Utopia" prove that Lynch and Pilson haven't outgrown the heavy stuff. Even the ballads rock. And the lone instrumental, "Cromanic," is a moody affair that manages to capture the essence of Lynch's playing style in a mere five minutes and one second.
While Dokken went soft on last year's Long Way Home, Lynch and Pilson appear eager to keep banging their heads. More power to 'em