Album Review: Broken Bones – Dokken
Posted by Reggie
If you know me or have been following this blog, you know that I have a fondness for that glorious decade the 1980s. It was a fun decade and an interesting one for Rock/Metal. Grown men wore makeup, high-heels, and more hair product than your average woman. Songs of that day revolved around three basic ideas: Getting laid, partying, and breaking up. Well, Dokken was one of those bands I thought broke out of that mold a little bit. Sure, you can see the spandex and makeup on the cover of Under Lock and key (an amazing album), but Dokken didn’t take the style of the decade to excess like Pretty Boy Floyd or Poison; I think that’s why I liked them so much as I reflect on it now. If you were a fan of the band, chances are you were a fan of George Lynch, their long time guitarist; probably one of the best at the time. Fast-forward to 2012, Dokken’s Broken Bones does not feature Lynch on guitar, but don’t let that keep you from buying/listening to this album; it’s every bit the Dokken you used to know and love.
Despite being an admirer of the 80s, I haven’t really bought many comeback albums from bands of that era. I make an exception for Dokken since I was such a big devotee. With anticipation I wondered if the new music would be fresh or just a rehash of times gone past. Thankfully, Broken Bones is definitely Dokken and they also managed to do it without George Lynch. Jon Levin has been filling that role since 2003. Before joining Dokken, Levin had a short stint with Doro and also became an entertainment lawyer for a while. He appeared on Dokken’s Lightning Strikes Again in 2008…learned something new today.
I will start off by saying the overall feel of Broken Bones is pretty mellow. I was surprised by this; I figured they would want to come out kicking and screaming…trying to show off that they still “have it.” Instead they took a more subtle approach opting for more rhythmic and toned down tempos which I found pleasing to the ear and easily recognizable as Dokken music. As you would expect, the introductory song, Empire, sounds more upbeat like Tooth and Nail in its speed and heaviness and also features an exquisite guitar solo…at this point I am impressed they sound like this without Lynch. The title track is second on the album and immediately takes things down a notch with its cool rhythm. Don’s vocals sound as good as they ever have, though the high notes are less frequent than 20 years ago.
It isn’t until track seven before Burning Tears epitomizes the 80s style ballad. I think we can all agree that Alone Again from the early 80s is reason enough to be excited about Dokken ballads. Burning Tears is a great song with a nice solo midway through; one of the best tracks on the album. Today takes an acoustic turn for back-to-back ballads. The remainder of the album’s songs are very straight-forward Rock songs. I am under the impression Dokken didn’t try to do anything here other than make music that they like to play their way. The closing song is about as upbeat as the opening track for strong start and finish. Everything in between is classic Dokken as you knew them. They managed to sound fresh while retaining their classic nuances that make them easily recognizable.