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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dokken – Broken Bones album review

Dokken – Broken Bones album review
Released on: Frontiers Records.  Release date: Available now

OK, this review has actually sneaked ahead of a bunch of CD’s, long overdue for review and why …?
I don’t know, maybe there’s just something that has driven me to listen to this album, over and over!
This is a band that when I lived back in the UK, I simply did not give them a fair amount of attention.
Why? Well, around the time that Dokken got any attention in the UK, it was at the same time as the likes of Great White, Black ‘n' Blue, Winger, LA Guns, Ratt and so many of the likes of those acts were getting a little publicity on the back on Bon Jovi’s success, but there were so many US bands being pushed through Sounds, Melody Maker and then Kerrang! that it was hard to ignore. We’ll, that and of course the Tommy Vance (RIP), BBC Radio One, Friday Rock show.
Here’s the thing, I did not gravitate to Dokken at that time and was getting into bands like 38 Special, Y&T and course there were a few others like er…, Night Ranger and many, many more.
When I relocated to the US, back in 2000, I discovered that all the local radio stations didn’t play crap - Unlike the UK radio people had to tolerate when I left there in 2000. -  well, not all of them anyway! No, seriously, over here all these regular FM radio stations are not too bad at all and Detroit has three pretty good stations.
Since discovering American radio, I’ve kind of rediscovered bands that I wouldn’t give time to before, Dokken being one of the bands that I now think have great material!
The sad thing is, although Dokken have continued over the years in one shape or form, supporting Don Dokken, Don has recently revealed in an interview with ‘Glide’ - - that this will be the last Dokken album – For now only …, I’m sure. – as he wants to pursue other projects, the first being an acoustic project with Michael Schenker (Scorpions, UFO, M.S.G.) and current Dokken guitarist, Jon Levin.
Much as I look forward to hearing that, it’s sad that Don says this after making a great new album ...
I’ve already seen critical reviews of this new release, knocking his vocals, which I would say is unjustified.
No, it’s not perhaps as you may remember that same voice 100% as it was in the past, but he’s taken things ‘his’ way here and I think it works.
 This lineup of the band is: Don Dokken (Vocals), Jon Levin (Guitar), ‘Wild’ Mick Brown (Drums) and Sean McNabb on bass.
Opening with ‘Empire’ which slams you with rock out, powerhouse drumming from Mick and pounding bass lines from Sean and Don sings well and there’s storming guitar from Jon too. Serious shredding in the solo!
Perhaps not classic Dokken, but it to me has a fresh good strong sound. It totally rocks!
If you enjoyed last Dokken release ‘Lightning Strikes Again,’ then you’ll probably relate to this, but you know there’s also a not too dissimilar sound about this release to say Winger's great last release, ‘Karma.’
The title track ‘Broken Bones’ is next up and this does capture elements of classic Dokken, we know and love.
It’s a little of a kind of laid back rocker, but nice stuff.
‘Best of Me’ again has elements of classic Dokken too and it’s a good mid-paced rocker, great harmonies and great song.
You know something that is becoming very apparent with a number of bands from the 80’s, for example Europe, Winger and Dokken as just three, that often were tagged as having too many big old power ballad type numbers, seemed to have in recent years, got back to a more rootsy style sound. The three bands I have just mentioned, all had periods of very melodic, often lighter touches about their works and could still rock out of course, with big production sounds, but these days they seem to be gravitating to a more back to basics, hard rock sound and I think they’ve all done well for it. 
With Dokken on here, I’d even at times go so far as to say, it often reminds me of classic (Michael) Schenker era UFO.
Isn’t that kind of interesting and ironic, bearing in mind the afore mentioned, recent revelation that Don and Jon will soon be working with Schenker on a new project.
 With ‘Blind’ next, it kicks in with a solid, slower rocking style and I want to say that it really reminds me of something familiar that I really can’t put my finger on right now.
The track ‘Waterfall’ may from the title alone, lull you into thinking it’s probably a ballad, but you’d be very wrong.
It’s actually quite dark and this really brings to mind that heavy, dark and edgy sound Winger had with ‘Karma,’ it is in fact eerily like it.
I love the signature time change about a third of the way in and seriously, Levin is sounding very much indeed like Schenker here!
Great stuff, oh yes it is!
The darkness in the sound continues with next track, ‘Victim of the Crime’ and once again, Levin’s guitar work becomes the star of ‘this’ show and while it may not be classic Dokken, it’s really good stuff!
There’s an atmospheric start to ‘Burning Tears’ and then it’s an interesting mix of time changes and yet great melodies, nice.
‘Today’ is not a huge power ballad, but it is a seriously deep and acoustically driven ballad, somewhat different from ballads of yore from Dokken.
Very good nonetheless!

The acoustic intro of ‘For The Last Time’ is deceiving and that part is not that far from their classic ‘Alone Again,’ but then the track really rips in and then it goes back and forth, in it's light and dark manner.
With ‘Fade Away’ it’s a big track that grows from a gentle intro to big old power chords and then gravitates to a more familiar sounding Dokken groove.
It’s a really great song, where Jon Levin once again, really comes into his own and his playing seems to impress me more and more over the years.
Guys, before you go your separate ways, how about a tour that includes Detroit!
Final number on my copy of the album is ‘Tonight.’ It’s another track in that dark edginess, yet still very melodic.
To me, this is an album that really should not be ignored.
There is a bonus version out there too, with a DVD featuring the making of the album ... Lucky you if you get that.
My advice to you, is don’t be easily swayed by other reviews you may hear that slam this release, track down sound bites either through Frontiers or on You Tube and then you should get an idea of where I am coming from.
Nice work guys!
Rating: 4.25 out of 5




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