The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

DOKKEN

BROKEN BONES

FRONTIERS RECORDS

2012

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

 

Dokken is back with a CD of amazing consistency. Don may not have the vocal reach he had back in the day but the songs on Broken Bones play to his strengths. Dokken sound like a band again.

 

WHAT WE SAY

 

Dokken’s 11th album is the third release to feature John Levin on guitar, and after a couple of very decent releases in ‘Hell To Pay’ (2004) and particularly 2008’s ‘Lightning Strikes Again’ we get to hear what could very well be Dokken’s best new music, certainly since ‘Erase the Slate’ (way back in 1999) or possibly even further.

 

 

It’s a little startling to think that John Levin has been on board now for nine years – though in that time all we have is three albums. It’s fair to say though that each has built on the sound of the previous, and with ‘Broken Bones’ we get to hear a really cohesive album with some great songs and that trademark Dokken melodic Hard Rock sound. Sure it might not be another ‘Under Lock and Key’ or ‘Breaking the Chains’ but I’ll stick my neck out and say this is my favourite Dokken album in a long time.  And with Don seemingly putting the final nail in the coffin of any possible original line-up reunion this is where we are likely to be for the foreseeable future.

 

 

Frontiers Records continue to sign some great bands and with ‘Broken Bones’ about to drop on September 25th in the US it will be interesting to see how fans take to it. Dokken though seem to be following the lead of other Frontier’s signings like Whitesnake and producing their best new material in years. An added limited edition format including a DVD of the making of the album is also a nice touch for fans who want a little more.

 

 

So diving into the album, what pleases me most is the consistency.  Lead track and single ‘Empire’ could honestly only be Dokken – a driving riff, some nice lead work by Levin and Don holding on, riding the tide with a solid vocal. Sure he may note hit the notes he used to but he doesn’t try to capture the past he lives in the present, and whilst at times you might wish for that glass-breaking scream, I think I’ve come to quite enjoy the sound of the older Don Dokken.

 

 

‘Broken Bones’ the title track has a slower build, a great refrain and a wonderful chorus, but I think it’s probably the huge riff that opens ‘Best of Me’ that really hits the spot – it’s that mid-tempo hard rock that Dokken do so well and then they just slay you with a huge chorus. This really is a great three songs to open any album.

 

 

The best news of all though is that things don’t really dip. ‘Blind’ is a slow burner with some nice licks; ‘Waterfall’ has some great backing vocals that carry along a great melodic rock song, and ‘Victim of the Crime’ has that Eastern-flavoured guitar that Dokken does so well.

 

 

Other highlights include: ‘Burning Tears’ which is one of my favourites here- and features a brooding opening with a great stabbing riff and evolves into a great Dokken style epic in the style of songs like ‘Heaven Sent’: it’s very good indeed.  ‘Today’ is altogether more introspective, a slow love song that plays to Don’s understated vocal backed with some delicate guitar work. Both of the closing tracks ‘Fade Away’ is a mid tempo, if a little short, Dokken powerhouse, but is shaded just by ‘Tonight’ which can’t fail to get that head banging. A great close to a great album.

 

 

I just wish for two things: that next time it’s not four years between albums and that the guys actually play a few of these songs live next time I see them.       

 

 

 

by Mark Diggins