Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dokken-Broken Bones

Frontiers Records

It's confession time again. Since it's good for the soul and all (or so they say) I should come right out and just admit that I didn't get into Dokken until much later in my life. While I of course knew the name I (shamefully I admit) wrote them of as another one of those limp-wrist hard rock acts back in high school. Looking back it had more to do with those who liked Dokken (the same group of kids that liked awful crap like House Of Lords) then with the band themselves. Such was the reason I missed out on such a great hard rock/metal act. It wasn't until sometime after my daughter was born that I heard a full album from the band. Soon enough I was searching out/enjoying albums as “Tooth and Nail”, “Under Lock and Key” and (to a lesser extent) “Back for the Attack” (although I find "Dream Warriors" to be killer). Even so I was/am more of a casual Dokken fan. I may have loved those classic albums, but I didn't bother to hear their last studio album, 2008's "Lightning Strikes Again". A quick run-down of the line-up shows founding members Don Dokken (vocals) and Mick Brown (drums) are involved along with guitarist Jon Levin ( despite rumors to the contrary George Lynch he is not folks!) and bassist Sean McNabb (Quiet Riot, House Of Lords, Rough Cutt, Great White). Now, given that this is their eleventh studio album it's only natural to expect some grey hairs to start to show right? Don Dokken is not the same man he was on those first couple of albums that I have enjoyed. That said he isn't bad or anything. It just sounds as if old age has caught up to him and, after years on the stage, his voice is starting to quiver a little. "Broken Bones" seems a fairly fitting title as this could be seen as Dokken with broken bones that have not healed properly. Is it a distraction though? Really, before we go any further I have to say that as it stands this is a fine hard rock album. It sounds as if Don (who I assume is the chief song writer?) has become rather reflective in his own age as a lot of these songs (at least to me with my own grey hairs starting to come in) seem heart felt. Maybe it's just that I carry a torch myself for very "personal" lyrics (I'd say it's a side-effect of growing older, but I've always found great meaning in lyrics and, thus, songs as a mirror reflection of life), but Don does seem as it he has opened up a little. Moving on to the music though and while Jon Levin might not be as good as George Lynch was/is he still lays down some tasty licks. Granted not much of this album really stands out, but as far as hard rock releases go this is above average materiel. I just wish it was something I could get more excited about about. When you put it side by side with their older material there is just no comparison. Maybe that is part of the release I couldn't get completely behind this. Having just listened to some older Dokken a week or so back (a mix I made) this seems flat by comparison music wise. I suspect if I had not listened to any of their older material before this showed up in my inbox then I would have enjoyed this a tad more. What it comes down to is die-hard Dokken fans will no doubt pick this up, but if you are a casual fan not so much. And, most certainly now, if you and never heard Dokken and were to say "hey, I should finally check out Dokken today" then it is obvious the place to start is with any of the following albums: “Tooth and Nail”, “Under Lock and Key” and “Back for the Attack”.

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