DOKKEN – “Broken Bones” – Review Release Date September 25th 2012

 After four years the mighty Dokken have released studio album number eleven with their new Label, Frontiers Records who signed the band back in November 2011. Originally scheduled for release November 2012, it was moved up to September as the band started and finished recording the album sooner than expected. Plus many loyal fans couldn’t wait any longer.

Unlike their last album back in 2008, ‘Lightning Strikes Again’, in which they revisited their ‘Analogue’ 80’s Sound,  which is most apparent in ‘Heart to Stone’ of said album, they have turned to the Heavy side of the Genre which they have been a steady influence for, for over 30 years. Heavy Fucking Metal!

This is the first album they have recorded with new bass player Sean McNabb. Before becoming a permanent member of Dokken, he was playing with them on their ‘Lightning Strikes Again’ tour in 2009-10. Not bad for the original Quiet Riot member. In this album his playing is sharp, supportive and on the spot. Very clean, but other than that, not overly technical but well pronounced in all the tracks.

On Drums is non other than the “Wild” Mick Brown, Mick has been playing with the band since before they were known as Dokken but as ‘The Boyz’. He has featured on every album by Dokken and is also a member of ‘Tooth and Nail’ which consists of Dokken members from different Metal eras. Mick’s drumming is nothing but consistent. On this album however still has a that touch of 80’s and was recorded in Tommy Lee’s home studio to give the album an overall rounded sound, he succeeded.

Jon Levin, Lead and Rhythm Guitar, the only other new member of Dokken since 2003, has recorded 2 previous albums with the band, and this one being number 3. When Jon first joined the band, it was apparent that he had melded with the original bands sound, very reminiscent of George Lynch (the original guitarist) which is always a good thing, but Jon has also added his own twist, which is very apparent in his solos, even more so on Broken Bones. Though you wouldn’t belie he recorded some of the tracks in his own bedroom studio would you?

Vocals is done by non other than Don Dokken, without him, well there would be no band for me to review. His vocals are extremely consistent, not the best, but by far not the worst. As the chief lyrics writer for the band (as well as his solo albums) he has always produced catchy, meaningful lyrics. Don’s Vocal range is still the same as it ever was, but on recent albums getting more ‘husky’ giving that more ‘Metal’ vibe that is very apparent on this album. I put that down to age, hell, he’s nearly 60 and is still showing all these new bands how its done.

Broken Bones has a varied mixture of that original 80’s Dokken sound with a more modern feel coming from the riffs and Lead. First track ‘Empire’ contains that more modern feel, with fast, heavy riffs, leads, and vocal harmonies, but with that typical 80’s drum sound tying it altogether, with that steady bass in the background, Unfortunately, it doesn’t set the mood for the title track Broken Bones (track 2), much slower and seems to be lacking that heavy vibe the first song opened the album with.

Lots of acoustic work has been used mixed with heavy Distorted riffs and clean leads, there is even a sitar in there somewhere. Its almost an experiment to see what they could do given the addition of alternate sounds. Not sticking to the same sound and or mood the album should be. Although each track is very well assembled and unique, nothing ties one track to another.

The Conclusion is, this album is very hit and miss. The only way to describe it is Marmite, you either love it or hate it. Broken Bones is a selection of singles, as an album its not very good. The only thing that ties this album together is the names of the tracks, the songs on the other hand don’t.

If your a fan of the 80’s sound and don’t care about how the album collectively sounds, go ahead and get it, if not, don’t bother. Dokken’s Previous album is a much stronger album. They may have let a lot of fans down with this one.

Sources:  DokkenCentral.com, Frontiers Records, Dokken Tube and Wikipedia.

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